Welcome to the 2018 Squam Loon Season! Despite the late ice-out this year (April 27th, latest since 2001!), the loons are off to a fast start! Loon pairs are mostly settled in their territories, and one pair is already on the nest!! Hopefully other pairs will follow suit soon and it will be a nice, quiet nesting season for Squam’s loons.
I do need to update you on a very unfortunate situation from last fall on Squam. In late October, our friends at Squam Boat Livery alerted us to an immature loon that was tangled in fishing line in the channel between Squam and Little Squam.
We captured it in Cotton Cove and found a large lure lodged in its bill and neck and fishing line wrapped tightly around its neck. We took it Meadow Pond Animal Hospital in Moultonborugh, where the vets made a tremendous effort to try to save the loon. Sadly, it did not make it. This was a loon that was migrating through Squam–not the chick from Squam last year–but, sadly, its migration ended here.
With fishing season well underway, please remind your neighbors and other lake users to reel their lines in when loons are in the vicinity and to use only non-lead fishing tackle. Loons mistake lures being reeled in for fish and will strike at them, becoming tangled up as this young loon did and possibly ingesting tackle. Please ask anglers, if a loon comes in the vicinity of where they are fishing, to refrain from casting until the loon moves on.
I’m sure you will all remember that we had a loon die from lead tackle ingestion on Squam last summer, and we have already had 3 lead-poisoned loons elsewhere in the state this spring–2 have died, and one is with a wildlife rehabilitator fighting for its life. In addition to spreading the word to neighbors and lake users about using only non-lead tackle, please check for old tackle boxes in your garages and boat houses. Old tackle boxes are full of lead. A good rule of thumb is, if the tackle is old, it’s lead. Please clean out those old tackle boxes and re-stock them with non-lead tackle. The Loon Center, Squam Lakes Association, and NH Fish and Game offices are all ready to accept old lead tackle and dispose of it safely and properly. Thank you very much!
If you are looking for something to do when you have visitors at the lake, don’t forget the loon cruises! Loon Preservation Committee is once again partnering with our friends at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center to offer loon cruises this summer! They begin next Friday (June 8th) and will run on June 15th and June 22nd and then Monday’s and Fridays from June 25th through August 31st at 3:00. For more information, visit https://www.nhnature.org/programs/loon_cruise.php. Hope to see you on a cruise!
Our series “Meet the Loons of Squam” will resume next week! If your portion of the lake wasn’t covered last summer, don’t worry–we’ll visit it this summer for a look at the fascinating and complex lives of the loons that live there! As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any reports or concerns, and please call the Loon Preservation Committee to report any sick, injured, or dead loons (603-476-5666).
I’m very excited we already have a nesting pair this summer, and let’s all work together to help make 2018 a great year for Squam’s loons!