Saturday, June 12, 2010 3:04pm


Let me give you an update from rainy Minnesota.

It has been raining the last couple hours but it looks like the big "blob" should be moving past us fairly soon. 

The loon on the nest has been sleeping a lot during this rain but has now just adjusted the eggs and has gone into nest building mode again.  So far not the intense nest building that we saw a couple days ago but she is definitely picking and poking.

I do not know what has triggered the seemingly increased nest building at times.  I keep wondering if the rain triggered some need in her to raise the level of the nest.  Once again, way more questions than answers.  But every observation adds to our knowledge and our understanding of loons.

Let me ask your advice on something.

I have been given permission by the Minnesota DNR to recover the remaining egg when I feel it is the right time.  They feel that anything a week or 10 days beyond the expected hatching date means it is not going to hatch.

One piece of information that I did not know before is that even the DNR has to have a permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to take a loon egg from the wild!  It is serious stuff.  And I am glad to see that everyone takes it so seriously.

So we have now gotten through all the red tape and legalities and I have permission to take the egg whenever I feel it is appropriate.

So here is my question for you....

I have pretty much decided that I want to take it at night to minimize the stress on the loons and to keep from imprinting on them that I am a threat.  

Also, since the sun does not even set here until 9pm and we have that wonderful twilight until after 10pm, my thinking is that I will take the egg somewhere around 11pm similar to the times when I had to go out and restore the camera.  And with the new night vision camera this year,  you will be able to observe the whole thing even though it is pitch dark!

But my question for you is which do you prefer, Monday or Tuesday night?

I want to give people as much notice as possible and also allow people who are traveling over the weekend to be able to see it.  Also, I want to do it relatively soon to be able to free the loons from their being tied to the nest.

So I lean toward doing it Monday night at 11pm but I am also open to Tuesday night if everyone thinks that is better.  Let me know what you think.  Someone may even want to start a separate subject with that question so that everyone sees it.

By doing it on either one of those nights, we have gone almost 2 weeks beyond the expected hatching date and should have removed any doubt in anyone's mind that the remaining egg MIGHT have hatched if we had just waited another day.

Now it is time to learn as much as we can from this year's experience.  And to let the loons get on with their lives and to be able to enjoy the rest of the summer in the element that they were created to be in.  Not tied to a nest.

So let me know what you think.  But we WILL do it either Monday night or Tuesday night at 11pm.

And let some of your family and friends  and others know about it when we set the night to do it.  It may be a once in a lifetime thing to watch.  At least I HOPE it is once in a lifetime.  I don't want to have to do it again in MY lifetime!  And I hope future years we are talking about how cute the chicks are and not about when to take the unhatched egg off the nest!

After the egg is off the nest, I would expect that the loons would return to the nest but fairly soon leave when there is nothing to keep them there.

I will plan on leaving the camera running for at least a few days after we take the egg so that you may be able to catch of glimpse of them now and then.

AND that we can learn from their behavior and see exactly how they will deal with the egg being taken.  Yet one more opportunity to learn about our amazing loons!