Thursday, May 7, 2015 5:29 am CDT


64 degrees F    Cloudy     Wind  3 mph NE

Sunrise   5:54 am CDT     Sunset   8:26 pm CDT


It just started to rain on a very mild spring morning

Our loon sits on the nest protecting the precious egg.

We have needed the rain so badly.  And today thundershowers are predicted off and on for most of the day.

I haven't seen the bands yet but I assume this is still the male on the nest.  If so, he has been here on duty since last night.

We are now two days since the first egg was laid.

I would expect the second egg, if there is to be one, will be laid in the next day or two.  If it goes much beyond a couple days, I would question whether we will have a second egg.  But I have no reason to think that there will not be a second egg.

As I mentioned before, loons usually lay 2 eggs.  But sometimes they only lay 1 egg.  That was the case with the other pair of loons on this lake.   Last year they only laid one egg.  And rarely loons will lay 3 eggs.

 During the first couple days before the eggs have actually started to develop, it is less dangerous for them to be exposed.  However, if it is sunny and hot, the exposed egg can easily overheat.  So unless there are extremes of hot or cold, the egg can withstand being left out in the open.

But loons will normally be on the egg most of the time from when the first egg is laid.

This Saturday is what in Minnesota amounts to a huge 'holiday' - Fishing Opener.

Hundreds of thousands of people will head to one of Minnesota's fabled 10,000 lakes (there are actually 15,000 lakes in Minnesota!) for the first day that the major game fish like walleyes can be legally taken.

It is an annual rite of spring.

So if you or your friends and family are going to be out on our lakes, this is a good time to remind them to watch out for loons.

Loons are easily hit and run over by fast moving boats.

Remind them to be especially careful if they see a loon on a nest.

I tell people that if they remain 300 feet away from a loon on the nest there will  usually be no undue stress on the loon.

If a loon is sitting with its head held high, there probably will not be a problem.  Such a body position indicates that the loon is not unduly concerned or under stress.

However, if the loon goes into "hangover" they are telling you that you are too close to them and they are concerned about you.  Hangover is when a loon will lower its head.  The lower it is, the more concerned they are.

The most extreme is when the loon actually lays its head down on the nest with its neck outstretched.  The loon is signaling that it is very concerned about you being so close.  And if you do not leave the area, the loon may actually leave the nest and leave the eggs exposed to the elements or to predators.

Being repeatedly scared off the nest may even cause the loons to abandon their nest.

So if you are near a loon nest and seen the loon go into 'hangover position', quietly back away and leave the area and the loon will soon relax.

Loons are also sensitive to other animals on shore that they see as predators.  They are very concerned about raccoons and skunks and mink and cats and.  including man's best friend dogs, that they perceive as a threat to them or their eggs.

You will see these behaviors of the loon sitting with its head held high or in hangover position as you watch them here on the LoonCam.

I once watched a canoeist paddle within view of a loon nest.  He was well away from the nest, a distance that normally would not have frightened the loon.  But he had his dog standing in the front of the canoe.

That was enough to scare the loon off the nest and the loon would not return as long as they were in the area, even though they were fishing a long way from the nest.

So if you are out on the lake, be aware if loons are in the area.

And remind your family and friends to do the same.

And by taking care of our loons and giving them the space they need especially at nesting time,  we will be able to enjoy loons and their haunting calls that speak of the great north woods for many years to come.


Copyright  2015     Larry R Backlund