Our daughter catches me on the dock one afternoon, yelling across the pond at the young loon, “Get out of here!”. More recently, geologically speaking–several million years ago–retreating glaciers filled freshwater lakes across northern North America. Ever since 2006 there have loons that call out in the early morning hours. Quietly floating offshore, with dull-gray plumage in place of their distinctive white-and-black, wintering loons are difficult to observe. Rawson Wood, in his 90s emeritus director of LPC, was still working. The places that appealed to loons appealed to people, too, especially as we sought out lakes for recreation. In the dozen years we’ve lived by this pond in the southern foothills of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, we’ve had loons only as visitors. They developed a migratory pattern that endures to this day: breeding on fresh water, wintering on the ocean, returning year after year to the same territories. Paul Spitzer was one of the few researchers looking there for clues. The rafts were working. In early December, I wake to a grim scene: our pond frozen over, the young loon paddling far out from shore in a tiny black hole of open water. It is so peaceful, there some power boats and sail boats but we are amateur kayakers and felt perfectly safe. Heading west on Route 25 at Moultonborough, turn left onto Blake Road at Moultonborough Central School (look for The Loon Center sign). Following the spill, 400 dead loons were recovered. The female hovers close to the nest. This is the only chick hatched on Squam Lake this year, by far the worst record ever. With darkness coming on, eight hours after the confrontation began, they disappeared beneath the surface one last time. Find and collect loon carcasses, determine causes of death, and test liver samples from dead loons for contaminants and pathogens, Band loons to allow us to identify and track individual bird and collect blood and feather samples for analysis, Determine survival and breeding success of previously banded and sampled loons, and related survival and breeding success of individuals to their levels of contaminants and pathogens, Incorporate results into a systems dynamics or other explanatory model to determine the relative contributions of a wide range of possible stressors on the mortality and reproductive failure of loons on Squam Lake, Restore and maintain a healthy and stable population of loons on Squam Lake as a component of a healthy statewide population of loons. In the language of wildlife biology, the common loon is an indicator species. Since the opening of the reconstructed public boat launch in 2001, the rate of mortality from lead fishing tackle on Squam Lake has doubled and is twice the overall statewide rate of lead mortality during the same period. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center: Take the summer loon cruise! We see very few and hear even less! But it wasn’t enough. - See 394 traveller reviews, 247 candid photos, and great deals for Holderness, NH, at Tripadvisor. Nighttime temperatures dip toward freezing. Somewhere out in the dark, the loons are trying to protect their chick. Eventually too tired to continue fleeing, the smaller male turned to fight. Researchers around New England had more leads than money, no results that definitively fingered a single culprit, but LPC’s executive director, Harry Vogel, spoke of a shared, sinking sense that their work could be touching the edges of a much bigger crisis. Eventually more than 200 million gallons escaped the blown-out well, the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Pokras sliced open the stomach of the first dead loon LPC sent him and found fishing tackle lodged there. They stay together for the children. Until now, none have stayed. Let nature take its course, a neighbor had told me, as I watched the ice come in. A short time later, I look out from our bedroom window and no longer see him there. (“I don’t hear a thing,” grumbles Norman.) The knowledge saddens me, and makes me think about other things that researchers know, the measures that could be taken to save them. Something catches my eye, and I raise the glasses just in time to see a fuzzy black chick the size and shape of a Ping-Pong ball tumble from the nest into the water. (The next day, Susie Burbidge will collect the egg for possible testing.) Knowing what we know now, it’s probable that most of them, perhaps all, had flown to the ocean from lakes across New England. Loons’ legs, set far back on their bodies, don’t support them on land. As we approach, the loon rallies briefly, then lies down, curling away from the wind. You must see “On Golden Pond”! “Is it there? The man who would save New England’s loons was born at a time of profound, sometimes violent, extremes in American attitudes about wildlife. The good news from our little pond masks troubling, even drastic, recent declines on some of the region’s biggest and wildest North Country lakes: Moosehead, Rangeley, Winnipesaukee, and, especially, Squam, for so many years North America’s poster lake for loons. The two birds locked bills. How significant were the lab results, given all the factors that historically affect loon nesting? Mist billows across the water, obscuring, then opening, our view. We look straight into the nest; the pair has built it well. Squam nests had again failed, one after the other. Umbagog, a sprawling lake in forested northern New Hampshire and extending into Maine, had claimed the highest concentration of nesting loons in the state. She crouches on the dock, setting up her spotting scope. At the end of 2010, $6 million was awarded to mitigate fouled shoreline habitat. I think of the young loon’s parents, all they’d invested in their offspring. Native stories described mystical connections between loons and human beings. ): they have lost all of their down, are in their beautiful juvenal plumage, and are able to catch some of their own food. Field biologists returned every year to Squam and other lakes in New Hampshire. A lone bullfrog booms, then a whole chorus. Every summer we rent a “lean-to” in Vermont’s Groton State Park at Ricker Pond campground. In the loon hierarchy, territory comes before mate. The success of LPC’s model was startlingly clear across the Connecticut River, where the Vermont Loon Recovery Project took citizen science to new levels. In the mid-1800s, Henry David Thoreau studied loons on Walden Pond. It would collect data on those loons. Was some unseen “point source” of these toxins leaking into Squam? “Loons are still in the queue,” says Vogel. We try each summer to visit places that loons inhabit from New Hampshire to Maine– as far as Umbagog and Katahdin. Dotted with about 30 islands and several unnamed islets, it drains via a channel into Little Squam Lake. Three of the Squam Lakes loon chicks have entered that teenage stage (and the other 2 aren’t far behind! From Route 109: Status of Common Loons on Squam Lake in 1999 Amy Wright and Kate Taylor Introduction By 1975 the Common Loon (Gavia immer) population in the state of New Hampshire was in notable decline. He had long studied osprey colonies on Long Island Sound and had been stunned by recent precipitous declines in those colonies to levels even below the DDT era. Now I want their two eggs to hatch, the chicks to grow and fledge. On lake after lake in the southern part of their range, people would arrive, and loons would leave. Loon loved the first man and saved him from drowning, an act of generosity that allowed the human species to survive. What most bothered her, she said, was one particular–and preventable–death. Gradually, counts ticked upward. Their decline has ramifications far beyond the small world of loon watchers. Watch Queue Queue 2016 Spring-Summer Autumn-Winter 2015 Fall/Winter Summer Winter/Spring 2014 Winter 2013 Fall Spring/Summer Winter 2012 Fall Spring/Summer Winter 2011 Fall Spring Winter 2010 Fall Spring Winter 2009 Fall Winter 2008 Fall Spring Winter 2007 Spring Winter 2006 But on Squam, once again, every individual mattered. He told her that it had brought back so many memories. For that moment, he said, he could “still hear the loons.”. Cruise to see Loons on Squam Lake NH. Over the next weeks, we see him struggle a few times and get briefly airborne, only to drift back to the water. Now I call the female “the flighty young thing.” When the male yodels at her, I swear I see her toss her head and glide away. The Big Questions: How Do You Keep Smiling for 50 Years? Loons nest in late May and normally lay two eggs, which hatch after 28 days. We hope these t-shirts will provide a positive and fun message during a very difficult period. I yell up to the house and Jim comes running down. Spitzer had observed an equally dramatic fall-off in populations of wintering loons in Chesapeake Bay and off the coast of North Carolina. And we have even seen them fly over head. All but 1 percent of the world population of common loons breed in North America, most of them in Canada. Wood’s family summered on these island-filled bays and coves, spread seven miles along the corrugated southern edge of the Great Northern Forest. Squam Lake Inn - Bed and Breakfast Inn 28 Shepard Hill Road Holderness , New Hampshire 03245 Phone: (603) 968-4417 | Toll Free: (800) 839-6205 | Fax: (603) 968-3661 In the 1960s he tried to do something about it; he wrote to state officials, headed up the lake association’s conservation committee, became active in the Audubon Society of New Hampshire. No chicks hatched there in 2007. Squam lake is the beautiful small dab in the mid of New Hampshire, to the few miles to the Northwest of Lake Winnipesaukee. The SEPF makes grants to promote the natural beauty and ecological health of the Squam Lakes watershed. The new organization would concentrate solely on loons. During a winter storm in 1996, the barge North Cape ran aground off Rhode Island. Wood and the committee took their findings to the state. “We?” he asks. Squam Lake, New Hampshire Picture: Loon on Squam Lake - Check out Tripadvisor members' 1,198 candid photos and videos. This guy, to my anthropomorphizing ear, is clearly directing his complaints to his mate: Hey! Harry Vogel points out that loons can successfully raise families on developed lakes–but the more our lakes stray from their original wild condition, he says, the more intensive the management required. Their set of nesting requirements is narrow: They need clear, clean water; abundant fish stocks; and undisturbed areas in which to raise their young. Underwater, though, those legs make sense. Loons were slowly recolonizing southern New England, as well. Fishing line can be deadly for loons. Near the end of the Cretaceous period, ancestral loons moved from land onto the oceans to exploit an ecological niche: Warm-blooded, they could expend more aerobic energy than the fish on which they preyed. The study quantified Wood’s fears: Loons on Squam successfully fledged just three chicks; on Winnipesaukee, only one chick survived the summer. Loons are fish-eating birds that spend the winter off the New England coast and return to New Hampshire’s lakes soon after ice-out. A loon that lives its full span of 20 to 30 years might raise a dozen chicks, but only if it’s strong and determined enough to defend its territory. In Maine, where an estimated 4,000 adult loons make up the largest population in the Northeast, biologists from the BioDiversity Research Institute (BRI) found that reproductive success had tanked in most breeding areas, from Down East to the Rangeley Lakes. The lake’s wild feel was part of its appeal, and a part of that wildness was seeing and hearing those ancient birds. From 2001-2012, Squam lost on average 1.9% of its adult loon population annually due to lead fishing tackle. More rafts, more float lines protecting nest sites, and more lake-association meetings translated into breeding success. On Squam, nesting pairs left the lake at the end of one successful breeding season and didn’t return the next. He offers little resistance as I lean over from the canoe and net him. LPC staffers had to sift through their records all the way back to 1978 to find a year when Squam’s famous waters had produced only one chick. ft. cottage is the perfect place for those looking to soak in the peace and quiet of the natural world without leaving behind the conveniences of our everyday world. There was at least one other place to look for answers. All reviews golden pond squam lake all ages interactive exhibits boat tour natural science center mountain lion winter walk local animals hands on activities natural environment gift shop great for kids nice picnic area black beans staff was friendly minute cruise white mountains otters zoo enclosures wildlife. Five days later, healthy after being treated for tapeworm and frostbite, the loon makes one last trip with the help of people. The Squam Lake chart (available at the SLA and other area business) identifies areas where loon presence is likely during brooding season. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center: Lake cruise to see the Loons - See 401 traveller reviews, 248 candid photos, and great deals for Holderness, NH, at Tripadvisor. In 1983, only seven pairs of loons had nested in the entire state; by 2005, the year Vermont removed loons from its endangered-species list, 53 nesting pairs had produced 57 surviving chicks. A single pair of loons defends a portion of a large lake like Squam, and often the same loons return to their territory year after year. My first experience hearing loons was a very breathtaking one (In 2005). 50 years launch a canoe from the other fully, can fly group includes. 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