Loons on Nests Throughout the State (360 w/2 col Loon on Nest)

MOULTONBOROUGH — The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) recorded its first pair of nesting loons this year on Pleasant Lake on May 11. Since then many more loon pairs have begun to incubate eggs.
Last year, Loon Preservation Committee biologists recorded 188 pairs of nesting loons. However, they also recorded 99 failed nests, many of them due to human disturbance, predation or water-level changes.
The peak of hatch of loon chicks generally occurs around the 4th of July holiday and loon pairs are vulnerable to disturbance as human activities on the lakes increase. A couple of simple precautions can help ensure a good year for loons in New Hampshire:
— Try to stay back at least 150 feet from a nesting loon, or more if the loon shows any signs of distress such as craning its neck low over a nest. Loons may even appear to be injured or dead while in this head-down position, but it is simply a response to the close approach of people.
— If you do inadvertently cause a loon to flush from the nest, leave the area immediately to let the loon return to incubate its eggs. Time off the nest leaves the eggs vulnerable to cooling, overheating, or predation.
Loons are a threatened species in New Hampshire and are protected by state and federal laws from hunting or harassment, including flushing loons from nests. If you observe harassment of loons, you may contact New Hampshire Fish & Game Department (603-271-3361) or Marine Patrol (603-293-2037) for assistance.
Anyone wishing to observe a pair of loons on the nest may do so at The Loon Center in Moultonborough. Each year the Loon Preservation Committee floats a nesting raft that can be easily seen from a vantage point on the Markus Wildlife Sanctuary trail
overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. Loons are nesting on the raft at present, and chicks are due to hatch in late June. Even after the chicks hatch, the loon family will still spend time in the bay.
The Loon Preservation Committee monitors loons throughout the state as part of its mission to restore and maintain a healthy population of loons in New Hampshire; to monitor the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental
quality; and to promote a greater understanding of loons and the natural world.

Floating loon nest. (Kittie Wilson photo)