Hatch Imminent on Loon Preservation Committee’s Live Loon Cam
Loon Chicks Hatching Throughout New Hampshire
MOULTONBORUGH—Loon chicks are expected to hatch shortly on the Loon Preservation Committee’s (LPC) live loon cam. The Loon Cam, which is in its ninth year of operation, offers an up-close and intimate view of a pair of loons in the lakes region of New Hampshire as they incubate their eggs and hatch their chicks. “The first egg was laid on May 28th,” said LPC Senior Biologist and Executive Director, Harry Vogel. “Loon incubation typically lasts 27–29 days, so if all goes well, they should be hatching between June 24th and 26th.” The first chick tends to hatch 12-24 hours before the second. Because of this, the loons will likely stick around their nest site for some time with the first chick as they wait for the second egg to hatch. “The time period between the first and second hatch is always exciting,” says LPC volunteer and Loon Cam Operator, Bill Gassman. “We have an incredible view and get to watch as the loons bond with their first chick. It takes its first swim, is fed its first meal, and spends time swimming with its parents and riding on their backs.” Those interested in viewing the Loon Cam can do so at loon.org/looncam.
The first week of July is peak hatching time for New Hampshire loons. Chicks will be hatching throughout the state over the next several weeks. The Loon Preservation Committee requests that boaters keep an eye out for loons on the water, especially if they have chicks, and give them plenty of space—at least 150 feet, and more if the loons show signs of being bothered by a boat’s proximity. This applies not just to motor boats and jet skis, but also to self-powered vessels including canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards. Loons will perform behaviors ranging from swimming away to vocalizing or ‘penguin dancing’—rearing up in the water and paddling hard to expose their bellies—if stressed by the presence of a boat. Any of these behaviors are indicators that a loon needs to be given more space. A guide to interpreting loon behaviors can be found at https://www.loon.org/behaviorguide.
“While an adult loon can dive to avoid being hit by a rapidly approaching boat or jetski, chicks are more buoyant and less able to escape,” said Vogel. He also noted that it’s not just motor boats and jet skis that can harm loon chicks. “Any boat, motorized or self-powered, can distract loons from properly caring for their chicks if it gets too close. As the adult loons focus on the potential threat, they lose valuable time that should be spent feeding their chicks or keeping an eye out for predators.”
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.