The LPC has recorded nesting loons at Lake Kanasatka and Wakondah Pond in most years since monitoring began in the 1970’s. In the 1980s and 1990s Kanasatka loons used an artificial nest raft in what we call Bibler’s Cove, about 200 meters southwest of the Kilnwood docks. Thick lily pad and rush cover has encroached on the old raft site there, and the raft has been floated in a new location in the small cove on the west end of the Kilnwood dock since 1999.
Two eggs on the nesting platform. First egg hatched July 13th. Second egg did not hatch and was collected for testing. Loon chick matured over the summer and flew away sometime in late Fall.
Two loon chicks were hatched. August 12th, Kevin Kelly saw an eagle dive and strike one of the young loons. The adult loon pushed the injured loon to shore as he followed. Peg Devine called LPC who arrived within 1/2 hour. The eagle was waiting in a tree, but Kevin scared it off. John Cooley brought the injured loon to Meadow Pond Animal Hospital in Moultonborough for x-rays. The loon had a fractured femur and wing, and had to be euthanized. The remaining immature loon continued to grow and flew away before the ice set in.
One loon chick was hatched. The adults left the lake sometime in November. The immature loon remained. December 19, 2020, the lake was almost completely frozen over. Kevin Kelly located the immature loon stranded in a small area of open water off Kilnwood and contacted John Cooley at the Loon Preservation Committee. John responded with his small boat and cold weather gear. Mark Whary and Kevin assisted from shore. John was unable to net the loon that day, so we returned the next day and the loon was captured and brought to a veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, the loon was diagnosed with aspergillosis (a fungal respiratory infection) complicated by E. coli sepsis and the loon had to be euthanized. We had high hopes of exploring a possible link between the cyanobacteria in the lake and the loon’s poor health. Dr. Jim Haney at UNH was planning to create a college course on this topic, using our loon’s tissue for the research. Unfortunately, Dr. Haney retired from teaching and the initiative never moved forward. With two more loon chick necropsies underway right now we hope to revisit this type of research in the future.
Two eggs on the nesting raft. One loon chick hatched June 12th. Second egg did not hatch and was collected for analysis. Chick progressed through the summer and flew off in the Fall.
The loon cam was not functioning in 2022. A loon chick was spotted in the area of the nesting platform on June 18th. Then, there were multiple sightings of two chicks with parents around Vonhurst Beach. A resident is certain there was only one egg on the nest. John Cooley from LPC thinks the resident might have missed a second chick hatched. There were two adult loon couples on the lake in June. Some other residents believe there were three chicks born to two different sets of parents. June 30th, Karen Walsh Buschini spotted a deceased loon chick washed up on her beach on Bishop Shore Road. She contacted LPC and Summer intern Field Biologist Jayden Jech responded and collected the loon chick. Caroline Hughes from LPC emailed Kanasatka resident Steve Corcoran on November 4th stating “Necropsy was done off site and the official form has not made its way back to us just yet. Our collection report noted some exterior wounds on the chick that could have been caused by sibling rivalry or potentially by an intruding loon, and I am guessing the necropsy results will likely indicate that one of these two things was the cause of death.” August 2nd, Chris and Scott Wallace contacted LPC about a deceased loon chick floating at the west end of the lake. LPC responded and Scott Wallace brought them out on the lake in his boat to collect the loon chick. An email sent from Caroline Hughes at LPC to Chris Wallace, Trish Townsend, Steve Corcoran and Kevin Kelly on November 4th stated “The chick was collected on 8/2 and was sent to the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (NHVDL) for necropsy. Their necropsy process consists of two parts—the gross necropsy (examination of the loon both externally and internally, including looking at all of the organs and noting any visible lesions) and histopathology (microscopic examination of organ tissues). So far, we have received the results of the gross necropsy, which were inconclusive. At that level, the pathologist was not able to determine a cause of death for the chick. We are still waiting on the histopathology results, which may reveal more.”
A high resolution camera with night vision and a high speed internet connection allowed for 24/7 streaming in 2023 thanks to the generosity of Kevin and Sandra Kelly. Technical assistance was provided by Bill Gassman in partnership with the Loon Preservation Committee. The nesting raft was launched in Kilnwood Cove shortly after ice-out. Two loon pairs and a rogue were spotted early in the season with one pair regularly visiting the nesting platform by mid May. Although mating of this pair did occur, no eggs were laid. The loon cam set-up was turned off on June 30th due to a lack of nesting activity by the loon pair.
“The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) is dedicated to sharing information about New Hampshire’s loon population with the interested public, but is generally unable to accommodate requests to distribute monitoring data on individual lakes. The Kanasatka loon record is an exception and has been provided by LPC to the LKWA website on a trial basis.”
This data reflects what the LPC has documented. Local observers may have more information or may be able to fill in some of the unknowns. If you have any comments or additions please contact the Loon Preservation Committee eat (603)476-5666 or [email protected].
Suspect Cause of Nest Failure
The comments in the chart refer to data based on condition of eggs and nest:
- Unknown — cause unknown.
- Avian predation — characterized by a small hole in the egg.
- Mammalian predation — characterized by smashed eggs/eggshells, tracks around nest.
- Unknown predation — predation source could not be determined.
- Loon disturbance — loon intrusion.
- Human disturbance — human intrusion, human related activities (Also includes pets).
- Water level rise — increase in lake level causing nest floods. Eggs washed off nests, or eggs still in nest, chilled in standing water.
- Water level fall — decrease in lake level causing eggs to be stranded in unreachable nests.
Lake Kanasatka Nesting
|Year||Paired Adults||Unpaired Adults||Nesting Pairs||Nest Site||Nest Attempts||Chicks Hatched||Chicks Survived||Suspect Cause|
Wakondah Pond Nesting
|Year||Paired Adults||Unpaired Adults||Nesting Pair||Nest Site||Nest Attempts||Chicks Hatch||Chicks Surviving||Suspect Cause|
The best protection for those chicks is to keep too many people from getting too close to the family for too long. Hard to do because everyone is excited about the big event, but the care and feeding of loon chicks is a full-time job for both of the parents, so they should not be spending their time and energy swimming away from boats. My standard advice to boaters is if you want to get close to loons, especially loons with chicks, buy a good pair of binoculars. Loons can be quite curious birds, and if they swim close to have a look at you, by all means enjoy – but no chasing loons around the lake! Judy Silverberg at NH Fish & Game said it best I think – any time you’ve caused a wild animal to change its behavior, you’ve had an impact on that animal. The firstborn chick will generally be the first to be fed, and if we give the birds enough space then the second chick will also get enough food to survive and grow and fledge before the ice closes in. It’s great to see loon chicks on Kanasatka again – I hope they survive and thrive, and I hope they are the first of many more to come!
Harry Vogel, Biologist
The Loon Preservation Committee