Saturday, May 8, 2010 11:07pm CDT

It is going to be another cold night for the loons.
It is already down to 34 degrees right now and going lower.  There is a freeze warning for a good share of the state of Minnesota.  We are almost guaranteed to get below freezing here.  The official freeze warning from the US Weather Service is from 3 am to 9 am.
But at least there is not snow and howling winds like last night.  Tonight is very quiet.  The lake is almost like a sheet of glass and the lights from across the lake are reflected in its surface.
So if intruder loons and muskrats and other things that go bump in the night do not scare the loon off the nest, the eggs should make it through the night with no problem.
I saw there was some discussion of how long the eggs could be uncovered without being harmed and that the number 6 to 8 hours was quoted.  That figure would probably be true for more seasonable temperatures or daytime temperatures.  With the temperature below freezing, I think they would be harmed much sooner but am not aware of any hard research that would give what that time would be.
It would also vary at what stage of development the egg was.  Early on before the embryo has begun to develop very much, they can stand more time uncovered but definitely not freezing.  Then when the chick is more fully developed, it generates some of its own heat so it can also stand more time uncovered.  Probably the most vulnerable time is that mid stage of development.
Right now, it is quiet.  The loon is firmly ensconced on the nest.  We can only hope that nothing draws her off the nest during the night!  Here is to a quiet night for you, dear loons!