Thursday, June 10, 2010 4:17pm CDT

The mate of the loon on the nest is sitting not too far out in the lake from the nest.  S/he is floating and sleeping.  Getting some well-deserved rest.
All is calm.
The loon on the nest is ever alert to danger and continues to pull nesting materials up on the nest.  From what can be seen on the camera, it looks like the level of the nest has been raised significantly in the last few days.
But it is 'calmer' than any of us want.
We wish that there were the activity and excitement that would come with the arrival of a new chick.  But it is looking less and less likely that the egg on the nest will hatch.  There is still a very slim chance that it might happen but that probability is getting less and less with each passing hour.
All of you have been amazing in your interest and excitement and support of these loons.  It is almost as if we wish hard enough that we can get that egg to hatch.
But there is also a time to be realistic.
And I would now be more surprised if the egg hatched than if it did not hatch.
Some of you have wondered if we will "just suddenly shut off the LoonCam".  The answer is no, we will not suddenly shut it off.  We will try to give you some warning before we turn it off for the year.  So don't worry about it "just disappearing".
I have heard back from the DNR and they have been given me permission to take the second egg off the nest if it becomes necessary and when it is appropriate.  Again, I will try to let you know before I do anything.  I would not expect that I will do anything before the first part of next week.  I want to give them every chance to hatch the egg and I do not want any question in any of our minds that the egg may have hatched or that we took it too early.
So if they abandon the nest, then I will take the egg off the nest.
If they do not abandon the nest, I will have to carefully consider what is the best way to remove the egg from the nest in order to cause the least distress.  I have thought about that doing it at night might be the least stressful for the loons.  But we will see what is the best course of action.
I also do not want them to start to see me as a threat.  I have worked years to gain their trust and I think that has shown on numerous occasions.  But I could destroy that trust in a matter of moments and that I do not want to do.
So it will take a lot of thought to decide when and how will be the best to take the egg if it becomes necessary.
But I will try to keep you informed at every step of the process!
The DNR has also said that they will try to x-ray the eggs to see if they were fertile and had started to develop at all.  The DNR has been so supportive in everything that I have done with this loon nest and we have been able to educate so many thousands of people about loons and taking care of them.  I would like to especially thank Carroll Henderson and Pam Perry for their support and encouragement through the years.  Mr Henderson is the head of all the non-game wildlife programs in the state of Minnesota.  He has recently released an updated version of his book "WOODWORKING FOR WILDLIFE - Homes for Birds and Animals" published by the Minnesota DNR.  It is a wonderful resource if you are looking for information about nests or providing habitat for birds or animals.
Rain continues to move through the area although there has not been much more than a few light showers here so far.  Tonight however is forecast to bring heavy rain throughout the night.  
Heavy rain on a natural nest along the shores of a lake can make the nest vulnerable if the lake level rises significantly.  However, one of the advantages of a floating nesting platform like this is that if the lake level rises.  It rises.  If the lake level goes down, the nesting platform goes down with it and enables the loons to still access the nest.
So for now, the loon continues to carefully and faithfully sit on the remaining egg on the nest.  
And we continue to hope.