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'Territorial Pair" of Loons Observed in the Channel

27 May 2023 1:10 PM | Jerremy Jones (Administrator)

Hello LSC - we have some very exciting loon news to share, and we also need your help!

Over the past few weeks, lake resident Dawn Smith has been observing a pair of loons that were frequently active in the same area near her camp. On Thursday, Dawn was able to record activity by one of the loons that looked like nest building.

We sent this video to loon biologist Eric Hanson from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, and he confirmed that the loons are performing nesting activity. Eric was here at Lake St. Catherine twice this past July, once at our Libraries Love Lakes event, and then again at our Annual Meeting & Dinner. At the Annual Meeting, Eric gave a fantastic presentation about loons, which was recorded - and you can view that here: LSCA's 2022 Annual Meeting & Dinner. In 2021, Eric also rescued a sub-adult loon on Lake St. Catherine that had been caught up with a lure and fishing line. You can read about that here: https://lakestcatherine.org/blog/12107471

This morning, Eric loaded up loon nesting buoys and headed down from Crafstbury Vermont to the lake. We put 5 signs together and headed out to the site:

Loon nesting area signs

Although the loons have been performing nesting activity on the site over the past few days, there was no evidence of a nest yet. Eric explained that a nest would look bowl shaped, and that they may be attempting to build a nest in multiple locations. So, now that our territorial pair have decided to nest, we'll need to keep an eye out to see if they attempt to nest at the initial site that they were observed at, or somewhere nearby.

After observing the site, he decided that it was too early to place the loon nesting signs around this area. Dawn has volunteered to store the 5 markers at her place, and if we do see that they are moving ahead with the nest there or at another location, we can quickly deploy them. 

Eric explained that they may not be successful this year, but we could try to help them next year by installing a floating nest platform now that they have selected an area to attempt to nest on Lake St. Catherine. Loons typically nest between May 15th and June 10th, so they still have plenty of time to make their nest.

We need your help to give this loon pair the best chance for success:

  • PLEASE be sure observe the no wake speed in the Channel. They are very active in the Channel south of the bridge.
  • If you see the loons, PLEASE do not stop your boat while passing them, and give them as much room as possible when passing by. Reel up any lines you may have in the water if the loons are nearby.
  • If you see nesting activity in the Channel, PLEASE report it to us. Seeing a loon out of the water on something above the water and moving materials indicates nest building. You can see that activity here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csId0j2_rLU

It is very exciting that a pair of loons has decided to nest here at Lake St. Catherine! Let's all do what we can to give them the best chance possible.

Thank you to Eric for rushing down here help! Also, thank you to Dawn for reporting her observations, helping out with the markers, and for taking us to the location with her boat. She was a great captain for this mission today!

We'll keep you up to date on their progress.

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies, and Eric's work rely on donations and contributions. If you'd like to support their loon conservation efforts, you can learn how to make a donation to them here: https://vtecostudies.org/give/

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Lake St. Catherine Association
PO Box 631
Wells, VT 05774

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