Monday, May 31, 2010 7:21am CDT

The loon left the nest for about 22 minutes.
My first reaction is to be worried for the chicks in the eggs in this chilly morning air.  But by now if everything has gone well,  they are generating some of their own body heat to keep them warm.  They would be in more danger of overheating if this was later in the day and the sun was beating down on them.
The reason for the loon being off the nest is something that I do not like to see.
Both of "our" loons were swimming with a third 'intruder' loon out in the middle of the lake.  Or is it even fair to call it an intruder loon?  There was no fight.  No attempt to drive the other loon off.  No calling.  No territorial yodeling.  No excited diving.  They were just swimming together.
But this presence of a third loon had definitely gotten the attention of the loon on the nest and had drawn her off the nest for 22 minutes.
During that time a couple small birds took a tour of the nest...looking for whatever they were looking for.  They did not approach the eggs.  But had this been a crow or a raven or a seagull that landed on an empty nest, very quickly those eggs could have been breakfast!
So those times that the loon is drawn off the nest, even if they are totally "natural", can be very dangerous for the eggs and the  chicks that we hope are inside them.
So today, 'traffic' becomes very important.
Whether it be speedboats or jet skis or fishermen or eagles.  Or even other loons becomes very crucial to our little loon chicks still safely sheltered in the eggs.
It is an opportunity for you to remind those you are with when you are out on a lake.  To be aware of loons and to give them their space.  If you stay 200 to 300 feet away from a nesting loon, you will have very little impact on it.  And they can be about their 'loon thing' of taking care of the eggs in their nest.
So the vigil continues!