Friday, July 4, 2014 10:28 am CDT

75 degrees F     High Clouds     Wind   5mph S

Sunrise  5:30 pm CDT     Sunset 9:04 pm CDT

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY to all of you!

And for those of you who to not live in the United States, today's celebration of our Independence Day has picnics going on all across the country and people going to the lake.  And then later tonight, the skies will light up with fireworks in all directions.

With all the boats on the lake today and this whole weekend, it will be a busy time for our loons.

What you want to know the most is that our two loon chicks are still alive, healthy, active and growing!

They can now dive with some ease.  I am not sure how deep they can go yet but I have seen them make dives for up to  15 seconds at a time.

They are truly becoming loons.

Just a little while ago I watched one of the chicks rise up out of the water and flap his little wings with his white breast exposed, just like mom and dad.

They look like they are at least 6 or 7 inches long - maybe even more.  It is hard to tell from a distance.

Tomorrow afternoon the first chick will be 4 weeks old and on Sunday afternoon the second chick will be 4 weeks old.  My how the time has flown.  From those tense days of waiting for the eggs to hatch, always wondering if they would hatch.  To those first couple weeks when the tiny chicks are SO vulnerable to so many dangers.  From above and below.

So to now see them at this stage is such a joy and a relief.

They have survived many of the dangers of being a little loon chick.

The greatest danger to the chicks right now is a bald eagle.

And several eagles regularly patrol the lake looking for food.

A large snapping turtle could do damage to the chick, especially its legs.  But even a snapping turtle is becoming less and less of a danger.

But the loons know that the eagles are still danger.  

Whenever an eagle flies over, the loons will start calling.  And the chicks usually hurry to get close to mom or dad for safety.

We had another chick hatch on the lake just this last Saturday!

I was surprised because I had been told that the other pair was nesting.  But I had not seen the nest myself.  I was finally able to get over there last week and sure enough, there was a loon on the nest.  I really thought with the loon still on the nest this late in the season that the eggs would not hatch.

But the one egg hatched this last Saturday.  There was only one egg on that nest this year.

I have not seen that new chick yet but I assume it is somewhere on another part of the lake.

Hopefully healthy and doing well.

With all the boat traffic, it will be much harder for that chick on this holiday weekend.  With him being only a few days old, he is not able to dive at all yet to get out of danger.  Not that a boater would purposely run him down.  But such a small chick is very hard for a speeding boater to even see, let alone avoid.

So if you and your loved ones are out on the lakes this weekend, encourage them to be on the lookout for loons and for tiny little loon chicks that are so vulnerable.  Especially in northern Minnesota and on up into Canada as well as in New England, this is the prime hatching time for new loon chicks.

If we all help our loons, we will be guaranteed that our kids and our grandkids and their kids will be able to hear that haunting call of the loon for generations to come!

Questions?   LoonCam at yahoo dot com

Copyright 2014    Larry R Backlund