Saturday, June 29, 2019 10:28 pm CDT

82 degrees F Clear Wind Calm

Sunrise 5:28 am CDT Sunset 9:05 pm CDT

15 hours 37 minutes of daylight

Summer in loon country has arrived with a vengeance!

High temperatures in the 90s. High humidity. High heat indexes.. But that seems to be the rule all across the country right now.

However the one thing that most of you are more interested in than temperatures is our little loon “Resurrection”.

As most of you know I have never been much on naming the loons since I can’t tell one adult from the other without seeing the bands. I don’t mind if anyone else names them but I have never been big on trying to name them and keep track of who is who.

But when on the spur of the moment, the name “Resurrection” came to mind because we thought we had lost him on Friday and then early Sunday morning he was back. Several people have told me they liked the name and thought it was appropriate.

At the end of this post is a picture of little “Resurrection” on the afternoon that I brought him in to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. The picture is from the WRC. (I hope that the picture comes through … I have been trying to figure out how to post the picture for some time and not sure if I have got it right yet. But hopefully you will be able to see it.)

The WRC said “This is why we have the phrase ‘Awww fer cute!’” And with that I agree.

Looking at the picture even now I cannot believe how great he looks compared to when I found him after midnight on that Sunday morning.

The most damage was to the right eye and the right wing and both legs after being trapped for over 30 hours. In this picture you cannot see either one. But the legs and the wing had improved markedly by the time I brought him in. And from what they told me, with treatment the eye seemed to be recovering well also. Encouraging news.

He is an amazing little fighter.

I think I mentioned to you that he was not looking good when I first found him. He could move both legs slightly by mostly they just ‘hung there’. But by Sunday morning that had already improved markedly.

I really was somewhat expecting to see that he had not made it through the night when I checked on him early Sunday morning. And he continued to improve until I was able to bring him in that afternoon.

I also received an email from the WRC a few days ago.

They said,

“Thank you so much for helping loons, what an amazing story. The loon is doing really well so far. At admit it did have a slight issue with one eye, possibly injured during the fall. At its vet check on a few days ago the eye issue was noted as resolved and no other issues were noted. According to volunteer notes the loon is devouring its minnows. The loon is on preventative medications to prevent aspergillosis which is a common in the environment and for loons to be affected by but can be accelerated when in captivity due to stress. The vets have not noted any other plan than raising the loon to releasable age. We have in some cases used other rehabilitation facilities or independent rehabilitators to help with these more sensitive species, but as of now they have not indicated sending the loon elsewhere.
Thank you for looking out for this little loon.”

Just GREAT news all around!

I will try to let you know if I get any other updates. I would like to get down there to see him but with the number of animals they have, that is understandably difficult to do at best.

They mention “aspergillosis”. That is a MAJOR concern for any loon in captivity.

It is caused by a fungus and loons under the stress of captivity are especially susceptible to it. So our little guy is not home free yet. Of adult loons that I have been involved with that have gone in for treatment, they usually do not try to keep them for more than 3 days or so if they can be released. Because even a healthy loon can succumb to aspergillosis very rapidly.

Loons are not meant for captivity at all and do not do well in captivity.

So hopefully we can successfully get out little guy to an age and size where he can be successfully released back into the wild. But that will probably still be another 8 to 10 weeks.

I want to talk to them about release plans when the time is appropriate. Hopefully we might even be able to release him here on the lake where he was born. But that all is a little way in the future yet.

Some of you have asked about donating to help offset some of the expenses and effort of doing the LoonCam. I have never asked for anything but your concern and help is always appreciated. You can email me at

And if you would like to donate to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for their help with “Resurrection” you can go to their website at

Thank you for all your concern and help with caring for our wonderful and beautiful loons.

And especially an “Awwwwww fer cute” little loon chick!

Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund

“Resurrection” “Awwww fer cute!!”

“Resurrection” “Awwww fer cute!!”

Saturday, June 15, 2019 7:09 am CDT

57 degrees F Light Rain Wind NNE 6 mph

Sunrise 5:24 am CDT Sunset 9:03 pm CDT

15 hours 39 minutes daylight

This loon season has been one for the books on so many levels. Let me try to briefly summarize.

After a late and chilly spring and a slow start by our loons, they finally settled into their own routine.

They laid two eggs and hatched two chicks. The first chick hatched a week ago yesterday and the second chick hatched a week ago today.

But from there on it became a season like no other that we have seen before.

Because of the many storms that pummeled the nest this spring, some of the nesting material washed away and set a ‘trap’ that was totally unknown and unpredictable.

The first chick unfortunately fell into that area that washed out and got himself stuck in an area that could not be seen. And I thought we had lost him.

When the second chick hatched a week ago today, he left the nest within 30 minutes of hatching - much earlier than I had seen before. But he seemed to be healthy and active and things were looking good that we at least we had one chick that was doing well.

I fortunately and surprisingly found the first chick in the area where he got stuck. I was able to rescue him after he had been stuck there for 30 hours and bring him in to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for care.

But in what shocked all of us, the Chick #2 also got stuck in that same area of washed out nesting material!

I was able to quickly rescue him as well and reunite him with his parents and they swam off. Another disaster seemingly prevented.

But after watching and hoping for the last several days, I am afraid that I am forcing myself to come to the conclusion that someway, sometime, somehow we have also lost Chick #2.

The last time that I can confirm I saw Chick #2 was Monday evening. I have watched since then hoping beyond hope that he was under a wing and out of sight when I did not see him.

Yesterday afternoon both loons came in and swam around the nest. In fact in something unusual, they swam in from the nest almost up to shore. Normally they do not come that close in. They were not alarmed or acting unusual in any way. But they came in much closer than normal.

I remember thinking to myself, “Well, it is good that they still feel safe coming back to the nest and being in the area in spite of me having to go out to rescue the two chicks.” That had been my greatest concern - that I had broken that seeming bond of trust with the loons.

If that had happened, it would have been heartbreaking for me. But my feelings are unimportant in the whole scheme of things. What is important in the long run is the loons reaction to and memory of what has happened with their nest.

If loons have a nest failure, research seems to show that they remember that. And they may look for a better and safer nesting site in the future.

So I am hoping that the fact that they have come back to the nest several times over the last week means that they are still accepting and trusting of this site. If they are, that bodes well for next year.

But as the loons slowly swam away from being up close to shore, when they got out past the nest and the buoys, both loons dove underwater.

I had been hoping and trying to convince myself that there might still be a ‘bump’ under the wing of one of our loons that sheltered and hid Chick #2.

But when they dove, there was no evidence of any chick with them.

So reluctantly I have come to the conclusion that we have probably lost Chick #2!

I have no idea what happened to him or when. Was it an eagle? Was it a fish or turtle? Was it something else. I don’t know. And will probably never know.

Chick #2 had been our hope when we thought we had lost Chick #1.

Now Chick #1 (who I called “Resurrection”) is our hope for this season! He is alive and well at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. And hopefully they will be able to raise him to the point where he can be released back into the wild and survive on his own.

As most of you know, I normally have never named our loons, although I do not object if anyone else does it. I have never tried to name them since I can’t tell one loon from another. Their coloration and markings are usually so similar that it is impossible to distinguish one loon from the next. Although I have found through the years that as one really gets to know them, there are personality differences. But they are not definitive enough to tell for sure.

But with the advent of banding, we have been able to know which loon was which if they were banded.

As I drove home from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center last Sunday afternoon after I had taken Chick #1 in there for care, the name “Resurrection” came to mind. We lost Chick #1 on Friday. And found him alive on Sunday!

It just seemed to fit. I hope no one considers it sacrilegious. No one else has to call him that. But in my own mind I may remember him by that name. It seems appropriate and reminds me of all the events surrounding him.

I had planned to announce today that I would probably shut the LoonCam down tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon about 2pm. Why then?

That is about the time that I took Chick #1 (“Resurrection”) to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. I thought it might be a fitting tribute to him.

But earlier this morning when I got up, the LoonCam was down. No big deal. I thought I will just reset it, as I have had to do numerous times before. So I reset it. But it didn’t reset. I reset it again and again .And still nothing. There is something else happening and I am not qualified to figure it out. And with it being the weekend, it will be difficult to get technical people to look at it.

I had wanted to give you warning of when the LoonCam would go dark for this year. But apparently that will not happen.

So this maybe a fitting end to this unusual season!

With that, let me once again say a heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you for once again watching the LoonCam! It is a joy to see and hear your reactions to our beautiful loons.

I will try to keep you updated on what happens with Chick #1 (“Resurrection”).

Remind your friends and family to care for and protect our amazing loons!

In the words of Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol”, “God Bless Us, Everyone”!

Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund

Thursday, June 13, 2019 5:20 am CDT

44 degrees F Clear Wind NW 3 mph

Sunrise 5:24 am CDT Sunset 9:02 pm CDT

15 hours 38 minutes of daylight

The sun is just about ready to peek over the eastern horizon.

It is an unusually cool morning for the middle of June. But it promises to be a sunny and very pleasant day today. There is just a slight breeze from the northwest so there are a few gentle ‘wavelets’ on the lake. Unlike yesterday when there were waves all day long including times with white caps.

It took some searching with binoculars this morning but I finally spotted our loons not too far away among some weeds just a few minutes ago. I had almost given looking when I heard a single wail - almost as if the loons were saying, “Hey! Here we are. We are over here!”

I looked and looked and strained my eyes, but in the early morning light I could not see for sure if our Chick #2 was with them or not.

Yesterday with all the wind and waves it was almost impossible to spot them among the waves. The couple times I did see them, I could not make out whether the chick was with them or not.

Last evening, about 5:30 pm I was raking up some weeds along the shore with my back toward the lake. Suddenly I heard a single quiet wail that seemed very close.

I turned around and there were both our loons in fairly close, between the nest and the buoys. They were very calm and just floating there watching me. There was the single quiet wail but no other calls.

It was good to see that they still felt safe coming near the nest, especially with me there.

I had looked carefully for them before I went down to rake the weeds and I had not seen them anyplace. So I was surprised when they showed up almost immediately. Where they had been I don’t know. But obviously they had been watching and came in as soon as I was there.

My greatest concern with all the events of the last week and me having to go out to the nest twice to rescue both chicks was that they would no longer feel it was a safe and welcoming place to nest and have their chicks. And that the bond and trust that especially the male seemed to have in me would be damaged or broken.

But they seemed comfortable coming in very close.

Not wanting to push my luck, I immediately headed up to the house to give them space and peace. I have tried to stay out of sight for the last several days so that they could re-establish that this was a safe place for them.

When I got up to the house, I looked with the binoculars. They were already swimming back out into the lake.

I hate to ascribe things to them that can’t be proven. But it was almost as if they came in to just say “HI” and say that there were no hard feelings and that this was still a place where they felt safe and comfortable. It always is dangerous to ascribe feelings to them. But that is what it felt like.

In reality, it may just be that that is what I wanted to feel.

When they were in by the nest last night, I strained my eyes to see if I could see the chick. With the big waves it was hard to see. I am almost positive the chick was not swimming with them. But was he on the back of one of the adults?

I couldn’t tell as they bounced up and down in the waves.

One minute I would convince myself that indeed there was a “bump” on the back of one of the loons. And the next minute I was not sure at all.

It is the same thing this morning. One minute I was convinced there was a bump. The next minute I felt that it was just raised tail feathers.

So I wish I could tell you for sure that Chick #2 is still with them and is OK.

But it is still a question in my mind.

I will just have to keep looking and hoping.

I KNOW he was there and doing well on Monday evening at dusk. But that is the last time I can say I saw him for sure.

I WILL let you know if I see the chick or can confirm that he is still safe and with the parents.

Let me mention a couple ‘extraneous’ things.

People have mentioned several times that they were waiting and hoping for the irises to bloom on the nest.

With the unusually cool spring, all the plants and flowers are behind schedule.

But what you cannot see from the camera, is that one of the yellow irises HAS been blooming! It is off to the left and the stem is leaning out, just out of camera range.

Now here is the special part.

It started blooming last week on Friday, June 7th - the day the first chick hatched. How special is that? And it is still in bloom.

Another little bit of extraneous news is a message I got from my internet service provider on May 25th. They said I was well up into the TERABYTES of data usage. They did not threaten to cut off service for that high amount of data usage. Nor did they say anything other than to point out how much data I had used for the month of May. But I took it as somewhat of a ‘warning’ or yellow flag.

So for the last couple weeks I have been concerned that they might cut off service or throttle back on the speed that we can transmit the video to you. So far nothing has happened so I think we are safe. I am not sure I want to see the next bill though if they decide to add charges for high data usage.

But it is just a reminder of what it takes to send out a high definition video 24 hours a day.

So how much is a terabyte of data?

Many of us can remember back to the early days of the internet when we were on the cutting edge of first using email. I first used Hotmail in the early to mid-90s, long before Microsoft bought it. If I remember right, the amount of storage available was 2k. That is 2,000 bytes of data. A byte is 16 bits of data.

Then it went up to 2 megabytes and we could not believe how much data that was that was available to us to use!

So what is a TERABYTE?

One thousand kilobytes is a MEGAbyte. One thousand megabytes is GIGAbyte.

And one thousand gigabytes is a TERAbyte! Or about a TRILLION bytes of data! (2 to the 40th power!)

Those numbers are something that were almost incomprehensible when we started this LoonCam 16 years ago.

But it is just a reminder of how special it is that we are able to watch our loons in real time, 24 hours a day, in full color and motion and with sound. Something that would have been impossible not very many years ago.

It is good to stop and think about the wonders of all of it, especially the wonders of the loons themselves.

And how blessed we are. And how often in life we take so many of our blessings for granted.

Today, may YOU have a BLESSED day!

Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 5:49 am CDT

54 degrees F Partly Cloudy Wind NW 9 mph

Sunrise 5:24 am CDT Sunset 9:01 pm CDT

15 hours 37 minutes of daylight

A number of people yesterday were raising questions about our loons and especially Chick #2.

As far as I know, he is ok. The last time I saw him was a few hours after I rescued him on Monday night.

At dusk on Monday night, he was well and swimming with the adults.

I saw our loons several times during the day yesterday. Each time they were some distance away. With the haze from the rain, all I could see is that the adults seemed to be peacefully swimming together. But because of the rain, I could not make out whether Chick #2 was swimming near them or on their back.

Everything looked normal and I was not concerned.

I was gone from late afternoon through the evening for a show of hundreds of outstanding high school theatrical drama and acting students at something called the Spotlight Showcase at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. What amazing kids and what amazing talent. I did not get home until late at night from that show so I did not have a chance to see our loons last night.

Nor have I seen them yet this morning.

I have no reason at this point to believe that anything has happened to our Chick #2 other than that others are raising the question. And that small loon chicks are always vulnerable to SO many dangers. Eagles, large fish, turtles, boats, jet skis and so many other dangers.

I wish I could give you a definitive answer that I have seen our chick this morning. But I cannot as of yet.

I will keep looking throughout the day and let you know if and when I see him.

It is just a reminder of how vulnerable the loon chicks are at this early stage of their life.

They are little fluffy ‘corks’ that cannot yet dive to get out of danger.

So if a fast boat or jet ski comes along, they are very vulnerable to being hit. And in defense of the boaters, that chick is SO tiny on the big lake that he is very hard to see. But it is a reminder that if you are out boating, to be aware that if you see adult loons, be aware that they may have tiny little chicks with them. And give them a wide berth.

Or if an eagle dives down on them, the chick cannot dive to get out of danger.

And of course a bass or northern or muskie looks at a chick floating on the surface as a very tasty snack. I don’t mean to be negative - just realistic of what our little loon chicks are faced with that we may be unaware of and never see.

So remind your friends and family to be careful and respectful when they are out on the lake.

Sometimes we love our loons TOO much! Especially if they have chicks. It is a natural reaction among all of us that we want to get close to them. We want to see them close up. Those “AWWWWWW, cute” moments.

That is a major part of why we all watch the LoonCam.

But the advantage of the LoonCam is that we can get that up close and personal view of our loons, especially the beautiful chicks without disturbing them.

On Monday afternoon I watched as a woman with a very young child on a jet ski circled out loons and Chick #2 out in the middle of the lake over and over and over. They circled the loons over six times that I saw. They were often within only a couple feet of the loons!

I tried to wave them away but they were so far away that they did not see me. They were concentrated only on looking at the loons and the loon chick.

The loons were not happy. They called repeatedly about this threat.

I am sure the woman, who I assume was the little child’s mother, was excited about showing her child loon’s up close. And especially the little chick. And I am sure that it was a wonderful experience that the child will never forget.

But it was very stressful our loons and the chick.

You know what? In the big scheme of things, that ONE encounter would not do too much damage to our loons or the chick.

But what we do not stop to think about, is that we are not the only one that wants that up close experience with the loons.

After we have left from an incident like that, a few minutes later someone else may want to do the same thing.

And then another. And another. And another. And another.

And the effect of all those close encounters take a toll on our loons. And if the chick gets separated from the adults, he is VERY vulnerable to all kinds of predators and danger. I am as bad as anyone of having that desire to see the loons close up. But I know the damage it can do and fight the urge.

So let that jet ski with the child incident be a gentle reminder to all of us to enjoy our beautiful loons from a distance this summer. That way, with binoculars or a telescope, we can enjoy our loons without putting them in danger.

So have a wonderful summer ‘loon day’ today.

Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund

Monday, June 10, 2019 11:40 pm CDT

54 degrees F Partly Cloudy Wind Calm

Can things get any more bizarre this year than what we have already seen happen?

Well, apparently they can!

Late this afternoon, the loons cam back to the nest with Chick #2.

First the female got up on the nest and sat there. Looking very comfortable. Very much at home. Mewing. Looking like she knew this place well.

The male and the chick swam nearby.

Then the male go up on the nest behind the female and almost looked like he was going to try mating with her. Or was he trying to push her off the nest and say “I want to sit here.”

Meanwhile Chick #2 was swimming around, peeping. The sound that we became so familiar with on Friday night.

Finally the female left the nest and the male loon moved onto the nest and ‘rolled a phantom egg’ and then settled down. He also looked very comfortable. Like he wanted to stay here for a while.

And Chick #2 continued its peeping!

Soon the male finally left the nest as well.

Both adult loons swam around the nest, calling several times. I watched with binoculars and tried to see our chick. I tried to imagine that he was under the wing of the female. But then she dove so I knew the chick was not on her back. She came up with a minnow and swam over towards the nest. But no chick swam out to meet her.

I could still hear the chick but I could not see him.

This was like “deja vu all over again” and I did NOT like it. My level of concern began to rise.

WHERE was Chick #2?

As hard as I looked, I could not see the chick. He did not seem to be with either parent. And I could not see him swimming by himself either.

My level of concern was rising.

I looked on the nest. I could not see him. I looked on the chick ramp. I could not see him.

And while my level of concern was rising, it also seemed like the level of concern of the loons was rising.

I walked down to the dock with the binoculars to see if I could get a closer view and try to spot the chick.

Both loons stayed between me and the nest and seemed to be concerned but not concerned about me being there.

Then did I really see what I thought I saw? I looked and looked and looked. But I could not be sure.

I thought I saw a tiny movement in the same area under the camera. The area where I felt the first chick apparently had gone when he got trapped and wedged in.


Could it be?


Something that had NEVER happened in 16 years? Could it be that now it was happening for the second time in two days? A little chick getting trapped.

This time there was no waiting.

As you know, I HATE to go out to the nest when the loons are there. In 16 years, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have done it.

But IF the chick was down in that same area, I was not going to wait.

So I hurriedly got in the paddle boat and out I went,

I knew the loons would not be happy. And they were not.

Once again I saw several penguin dances. Hear tremolos. And wails. And even a yodel or two.

But as I got closer to the nest, I could see movement in the area where the wind and waves and storms had washed away nesting material and even part of the foam.

I got up to the nest and there was little Chick #2 trying to get up out of where he had gotten into!

He obviously had also used to chick ramp (which has been in exactly this same place all along and has never been moved) to get up on the nest. But instead of going up to the nest, he also went to the left and fell in the area where material had been washed out over the last month and a half of storms.

Never before had anything like this happened.

But here we were once again. Fortunately the chick had not yet gotten himself stuck in an impossible area.

I reached down and picked him up and put him where the excited loons could see him.

I backed away quickly from the area and returned to shore.

The adults finally swam over to the chick, re-established contact, calmed down and then swam back out into the lake.

Once again my heart was pounding.

But the chick was safe. The chick was with the parents. The parents had calmed down. And all three of them were swimming out into the lake.

I stayed on shore and shook my head over what had just happened.

How? How? How? Why?!

After all the excitement of the last couple days and getting Chick #1 to a place where he could have professional care and answering questions from the news media who showed up, I had not had a chance to go out to the nest.

I waited until the loons were well out into the lake and seemed settled.

Then I went out to the nest and stuffed bubble wrap into every area that a chick could possibly get into. The loons normally do not come back like this or this often. But they did. And this chick would have been stuck as well.

In the remaining few days that the nest would still be in the lake and accessible to the loons, I was NOT going to have this happen again.

But it illustrated how vulnerable things are.

Never has this happened before in all these years. Never have storms washed away so much nesting material pr washed it away in such a way that it opened up areas that could become ‘traps’. NEVER had ONE chick become trapped. Let alone two!

Maybe the good part was the confirmation that the chicks could and did use the chick ramp to get up on the nest. But the bad part of that same thing was that they were up on the nest where they eventually fell into this washed out area.

Well, now that area is stuffed full of material so that the chick cannot fall in there IF they come back again. Which they may not.

My biggest concern out of these two incidents is a concern of whether I have broken the bond of trust that the male loon has seemingly had in me. I hope not. That would be heartbreaking for me. And not good for the loons in the future.

We will have to wait for the verdict on that one.

But tonight the BEST news is we have TWO lively chicks!

One chick with its parents here on the lake.

And the other chick is in the finest of facilities where it can get the best of care to facilitate what will hopefully be his complete recovery.

Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund