56 degrees Clearing Wind 10 mph NW
Sunrise 5:24 am CDT Sunset 9:02 pm CDT
We are just about at sunrise and already the chicks are in the water and the parents are rapidly bringing minnows to them for breakfast.
We had rain again last night. Right now the clearing line is right over us. Very dark clouds to the east. Clear sky to the west. So I think it will be a bright sunny day for our chicks
When the loons first start nesting, there is a reassurance when I come home or when I look down at the nest that I see a silhouette of a loon sitting on the nest.
Now that the chicks have hatched, there is a reassurance when I look down at the nest to NOT see a loon sitting on the nest. How quickly things change.
But when I spot the loons on the lake, the first thought that I have is, "Where are the chicks? Are there two of them? Are they in the water? Are they under the wings? Are there TWO bumps under the wings?"
And then when I finally see both chicks, I can relax.
Right now I am relaxed.
I have seen both chicks this morning!
They look good. Healthy. And active.
What I have seen with the loons here is that they stay on the open water of the lake.
After the chicks hatch, they stay in the general area of the nest. But with each passing day, gradually they range further and further from the nest.
Chicks are almost totally dependent on the parents for their food for the first 6 weeks of their life or so. Gradually they will be able to dive and learn to catch some of their own food. But in the early weeks they are very dependent on the parents.
One study done years ago showed that a chick rode on its parent's back about 60% of the time during the first week of life and by the second week that had decreased to about 10% of the time.
During these first two weeks of the chick's life, they are so vulnerable. And when they are away from the adults they are even more vulnerable from predators above and below the water.
Yesterday morning a pair of eagles stayed in the area for some time and understandably it caused great concern to the loons.
But our chicks survived that and are still safe today.
But it is a good reminder for all of us as we are out on the lakes.
Observe our loons and especially the chicks from a distance. Bring binoculars.
Normally if you stay 300 feet away (some people say 500 feet) you will cause little stress or danger.
But what I have seen and what I myself 'want' to do, is to get CLOSE.
We can love our loons too much.
And if we scare the chicks off the backs of the parents or if the parents dive and leave the chicks on the surface, we have just exponentially increased the possibility of the chick being taken by a predator.
What I have seen is people loving loons too much rather than purposely doing something malicious.
So share that information with your family and friends. Our loons will thank you.
We will leave the LoonCam up for a few more days. Hopefully you will catch a glimpse of the loons once in a while. But maybe sometime this weekend we will look at shutting it down for the year.
I will continue to update you on how the loons are doing. Although like the loons themselves, that will gradually become more spread out.
Let me mention one other thing that you might be interested in. Next week I will be doing a presentation on loons to a "Pioneer School". This is a special program for children which is done in an old one room country school where the kids from first through sixth grade see what it was like to go to school in the 1800s or early 1900s. Hopefully it will be a special time for them. I wish I could invite you but obviously I can't.
What I can invite you to is the presentation that I will be doing at the Isanti County Historical Society in Cambridge, MN on Wednesday, August 13. I would love to meet you and talk with you.
Questions or Comments? LoonCam at yahoo dot com
Copyright 2014 Larry R Backlund