Comments or questions?  Contact: WLA Loon Watcher 


One Chick

posted Jun 4, 2020, 5:38 PM by WLA Loon Person

Today’s light did indeed confirm Island Pond has a surviving chick. It’s good news after 
yesterday’s disappointing discovery of a dead chick on the nest. Adult loon necropsies 
are the priority at the LPC so it may be a while before we hear what happened to this 
The surviving chick will get all the attention (and food) from both parents. Enjoy watching 
it grow while keeping a safe distance from the family. 

Loon Chicks

posted Jun 4, 2020, 4:03 AM by WLA Loon Person

The loons, having arrived in early April, chose a new nesting site and began the incubation period in early May. 
June 3 the loons were off their nest. One chick was found dead on the nest. It’s body and the egg fragments were 
collected and will be delivered to the LPC. The loons made their way to the north end of the lake on Wednesday night. It could not be confirmed  they have a chick though it appears one is stashed under the mother’s wing. Tomorrow’s day light is needed for confirmation. 

Island Pond Loons Arrive

posted Jun 3, 2020, 6:39 PM by WLA Loon Person   [ updated Jun 4, 2020, 4:04 AM ]


                                                             APRIL 3, 2020 

Dancing Loons

posted Jul 19, 2019, 6:10 PM by WLA Loon Person   [ updated Jul 19, 2019, 6:18 PM ]

Island Pond’s one chick is growing big and strong thanks to double duty feedings from both parents.
Throughout the summer it not unusual to see other loons arrive, vie for this lake, and challenge our loons for this territory.  When this happens the male yodels his territorial call and both loons rush across the lake-in an above water surface run-to meet the intruders. One may even witness a penguin dance-an aggressive display where the loon rears up and splashes about in the water trying to distract predators away from their chick(s).  The chick heeds the urgent message, heads closer to shore, and hides under overhanging pine boughs until the uninvited visitors leave. The loons engage in a circle dance with the intruders, diving and watching their opponents above and under water, so as not to get pierced by a sharp beak. It is not unusual to see 3-5 loons challenging our loons. Peace is restored when they leave and the chick reunites with its parents. 
One thing for certain Island Ponders always root for the home team!   

The Concord Monitor posted a great article about NH loons. 

One and Only

posted Jun 26, 2019, 6:11 AM by WLA Loon Person   [ updated Jun 26, 2019, 6:33 AM ]

The weekend of June 22, 2019 one chick emerged from the one and only egg laid. (Photos below) 
This chick is getting undivided attention from both parents which gives it the best survival odds. 
Have fun observing our newest addition to Island Pond. 
Thank you for remembering to keep a distance of 150 feet. If the loons are moving away 
from you then check your distance- you may be too close. Their energy should be focused 
on feeding and caring for their chick instead of removing themselves from a perceived threat. 
Let them decide the distance they feel comfortable. Loons are quite curious and may come close 
to check you out. What a thrill that is! (See below for info on loon behavior) has information on loons and all the wonderful support the 
Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) offers NH loons. 

The Loons Are Back

posted Apr 16, 2019, 7:28 AM by WLA Loon Person   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 7:39 AM by Washington Lake Association ]

APRIL 16,2019
10 AM 

Island Pond Loon Chick Survival Numbers

posted Mar 1, 2019, 5:15 AM by WLA Loon Person   [ updated Jun 4, 2020, 5:06 PM ]

Loon Eggs/Chicks
1989: 0 eggs hatched
1990: 0 eggs hatched
1991: 0 egg hatched
1992: 1 chick hatched / 1 survived
1994: 1 chick hatched / 0 survived 
1995: 2 chicks hatched / 2 survived
1996: 2 chicks hatched / 2 survived
1997: 2 chicks hatched / 2 survived
1998: 1 chick hatched / 1 survived
1999: 0 eggs hatched
2000: 1 chick hatched / 1 survived
2001: 0 eggs hatched 
2002: 1 chick hatched / 1 survived
2003: 2 chicks hatched / 2 survived
2005: 2 chicks hatched / 1 survived
2006: 1 chick hatched / 1 survived 
2007: 0 eggs hatched
2011: 2 chicks hatched / 0 survived 
2012: 0 eggs hatched
2013: 2 chicks hatched / 1 survived 
2014: 2 eggs in 2 nests-different locations / 0 survived ( 1 destroyed by a mammal/1 failed to hatch) 
2015: 1 chick hatched, 1 egg failed to hatch/ 0 survived
2016: 2 chicks hatched / 0 survived
2017: No nest  
2018: 1st nesting interrupted / 0 eggs found 
            2nd nesting (different location) / 2 chicks hatched/ 1 survived
2019: 1 egg / 1 chick hatched / 1 survived 
2020: 2 eggs / 2 chicks hatched / 1 dead on nest / 1 survived

Survival of the Fittest

posted Mar 1, 2019, 5:04 AM by WLA Loon Person   [ updated Mar 1, 2019, 5:25 AM ]

The most dramatic and most tender of what nature offers is on display for all those who live on the pond. We are all aware that it is the strongest that survive and we see that play out most vividly in our resident loon population summer after summer. Whether it’s the daily struggle of our loon pair defending its territory or the hourly survival of the loon chicks, the drama ensues.

Two chicks were hatched and one was stronger and bigger than the other. Nature never appears to support the underdog. In fact, it seems hard and callous when observed from a distance and, even when good-natured humans intervene to help and reunite a lost and seemingly abandoned  chick with the family unit, nature turns her attention away from the vulnerable and towards the able. The smaller of the two was rejected from the family and found on a road adjacent to the pond. It was reunited and accepted back by the family unit-only to be seemingly bullied by its sibling. This separation and rejoining went on for a few days with human intervention until the chick permanently disappeared. 

Humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize-assigning human qualities to animals they feel a connection with. Perhaps it eases the disappointment of the loss of yet another chick and binds us all a bit closer as we realize the great blessing of living on Island Pond. 

Loon Chicks

posted Jul 31, 2018, 7:13 AM by WLA Loon Person   [ updated Jul 31, 2018, 3:31 PM ]

How wonderful to watch the loon chick for the past weeks grow quickly and begin to dive for short periods. 
As of Sunday, July 29, all was well. Monday morning 5 loons were congregating on the lake. There was no way to discern who was who. The chick was no where to be found- assumed to be hiding. Tuesday morning the pair were seen on the north side of the lake without the chick. Several neighbors actively searched for the chick for several hours. 

Finally, at 11:30 am Diana Hanssen found the chick as it was reunited with its parent...and all is as it should be. 

It Takes a Village

posted Jul 12, 2018, 7:44 AM by WLA Loon Person   [ updated Jul 15, 2018, 5:09 PM by Washington Lake Association ]

(Click on picture for larger view)

So many Island Pond residents and visitors are interested in loons, observe loons, and are ready to help, when needed or asked, to lend a hand to aid these protected birds. Thanks to all who responded quickly to the most recent calls of duty. 

There are many stages of success in the life of a summer loon; the loons return to their lake, the pair bonds, the nest is made, the eggs are layed, the eggs hatch....and then the challenging part begins. 

Two small fuzzy chicks, that fit in the palm of a hand, are water bound in a few hours of hatching. Loon parents are on guard, protecting their chicks from all dangers and predators that come their way; boat strikes, snapping turtles, bald eagles, large fish, and yes, even other loons. And those who love loons watch with great anticipation, and some trepidation, as the drama unfolds one day at a time.  

In less than 24 hours a rogue loon appeared to challenge the male. Our male responded forcefully and powerfully, as he shot across the water toward the interloper. The rogue quickly retreated knowing he would not win the battle. 

Two days later, on July 11, a beautiful sunny, peaceful, summer morning unfolded.  The new chicks were near the public boat launch on the south side of the lake. All were swimming together quietly when one of the chicks began pecking at the other. Not overly aggressively- though two or three times. The pecked chick drifted away from the family unit. An observer watched while the chick went under water and seemingly...disappeared!  The observer watched and waited but didn’t see the chick resurface. The parents continued on their way, nonplussed, with just one chick...the observer waited, watched, and looked but couldn’t find the missing chick. 

In the middle of that afternoon, hundreds of feet from the boat launch, on dry land, in the road, a loon chick was found by a passerby - very much alive. After the chick was collected, placed in a box, and phone calls made to authorities, the loon chick was reunited with its father and sibling. The sibling, that was sitting on its father’s back, slipped off and began pecking at the returned chick. (Not uncommon behavior) The father called out to the mother - who appeared quickly from afar and restored peace to the family unit. The family of four continued on with the day as if nothing happened and were seen later, after sunset, with both chicks peacefully sleeping on the mother’s back. 

Morning broke on July 12 to find both chicks with their parents. A rogue loon flew in mid-morning but was quickly chased off by the male. Each parent then had a chick on their back. They were apart from each other for hours, in different places on the lake, with no communication between them. Each parent feeding the chick they were with.  At three in the afternoon the larger chick started aggressively pecking  at the other. The battered chick took cover next to the shore and hid for hours. 

Later in the early evening, near Helen’s Island, the parents were seen feeding one chick. The second, smaller chick was discovered on a rock next to the shore at “Johnson Point” near where it was hiding all afternoon ( and consequently, not fed). After consultation with the loon biologist the chick was retrieved and reunited with the family. It immediately climbed on the male’s back and the family of four continued on its way. The best chance of a chick’s rehabilitation is with its parents. It is not uncommon for a larger sibling to try and injure and drown it’s weaker sibling. It will be remarkable if this smaller chick pulls through considering the ongoing abuse and lack of food. 

Friday, July 13 was no different for the smaller chick; the day was much like the one before. Ongoing abuse from the stronger chick, separation from the family unit, and therefore lack of food. There was no denying the inevitable despite the well intentions of those who did all things humanly possible to give this littlest chick the best chance of surviving. And so, by late afternoon, it was clear the family unit was minus one. 

The remaining chick is well fed, growing quickly and has its parent’s undivided attention; hopefully that’s all it needs to reach maturity. 

(Click on picture for larger view)

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