Monday, June 1, 2015 10:07 pm CDT


I think I am getting too old for this!!

Or my heart is too weak!

What an evening of drama it has been.   And it is still not over.

The chick left the nest and got in the water when he was only 2 hours old.

I always cringe when they leave so early and wish that they would at least spend the first night on the nest.  But he hopped into the water right away.

He even found the chick ramp and got up on it and slept in the warm sunshine.  But he could not quite figure out how to get the rest of the way up the nesting material to the adult loon on the nest.

But the chick also swam around the nest frantically all the while calling and peeping.

It was so hard to watch.

After a couple hours of uncertainty by our loons of taking care of BOTH a chick and an egg at the same time, they seemed to have figured it out.  

The female sat quietly on the egg on the nest.  While the male faithfully took care of the chick in the water.  Feeding the chick.  Swimming with it.  And letting the chick ride on his back.

But then about 8 pm, the female left the nest and the male got up on the egg.

It looked like it was going to be a routine and smooth nest exchange.

But the female just swam away leaving the chick behind.

The chick swam around and around the nest as he called constantly.  He even found the chick ramp numerous times but could not figure out how to climb up on the nest itself.

The male was frantic.

Staying on the second egg.  But hooting, yodeling, tremoloing and wailing.  He used every call in his repertoire including a few that were maybe not there before!

The chick was frantic.

It was amazing to watch how fast he could swim!

When he started venturing further and further from the nest in his panic, the male finally left the nest and swam out to him and got the chick up on his back.  He then swam back to the nest and stayed close by.

But now the second egg lay exposed..

After a while, the male got back up on the nest and rolled the egg and settled down.

But as he got up on the nest, the little chick was bucked off.  Back into the big dark scary water.

Once again he started calling and swimming frantically.

The male once again began his constant calling.

Calls that the female could have heard anywhere on the lake and should have called her back.  But she did not come.

Once again after a protracted time of calling, the male once again left the nest and got into the water and rescued the chick.

That time of night there would not be much danger from eagles.

But there would be GREAT danger from bass and northerns and snapping turtles.

I sat watching all of this play out hoping beyond hope that I did not see our new little chick disappear in a swirl of water.

It was heartbreaking to watch.

The female was absolutely no where to be seen nor did she answer any of his calls.

I tried to think of any possibility of what I could do to rescue the chick.  I kept hoping beyond hope that the female would return and all would be well.  But it was not to be.

But going out in the water and trying to grab a little chick while a distressed male was right there would be foolhardy and dangerous.  The likelihood of a severe stabbing, or multiple stabbings, is very real. But  haven't ruled it out yet.

The whole scenario repeated itself for yet a third time!

A chick frantically swimming and crying in the water.  The male on the nest calling over and over and over.  In a panic.

And finally the male getting in the water for yet a third time to rescue our little chick.

And that is where it stands right now.

The male is in the water with the chick on his back, swimming near the nest.

He seems to have chosen the chick over the egg.

I am not sure the egg will survive the night in the cool to cold air.

Nor am I sure the chick would survive without the male there either.

Such life and death decisions.

And no easy answers.

We can only hope the female will return.  But she has not normally returned in the middle of the night.

So we are faced with more drama than any of us wanted or hoped for!


Copyright  2015   Larry R Backlund