Just a quick update to let you know that the three chicks on Squam Lake and the chick on Little Squam are growing and looking fantastic! The chicks are all at an age that they are able to feed themselves; but, like all teenagers, they’re more than happy to get a free meal and continue to beg their parents mercilessly for food. Loon chicks beg by pecking at the bill and neck of the adults and making begging calls—with the chicks the size that they are right now, the parents seem to find all this begging and pecking a bit trying, but they still patiently oblige by bringing up lots of fish for the chicks. One of the Big Squam chicks is particularly feisty—it has been learning the time-honored loon tradition of “cormorant bullying” and was even caught stealing a large fish right out of its parent’s bill that the parent was trying to eat! Very soon the chicks will start learning how to fly; and, for their part, the adults are beginning to molt into their winter plumage. Between the leaves and the loons, the changes of Fall are underway on Squam!
The changes of Fall are underway for me too—as I spend more time in the office, I turn my attention to analyzing the data from the year on Squam, selecting eggs to send in for contaminant testing, and conducting other analyses to help Loon Preservation Committee better understand and mitigate the many challenges facing Squam’s loons.
I will be leaving the orange “Caution: Loon Chicks” signs out until after Columbus Day weekend and will continue keeping an eye on the loons through the Fall; as always, please report any sick, injured, or dead loons to Loon Preservation Committee (603-476-5666).
Thank you for your interest in Squam’s loons! Enjoy a beautiful Autumn, and, as the days turn chillier, think about Squam’s loons getting ready to wing their way to the coast!
Squam Lakes biologist
Loon Preservation Committee