84 degrees CDT Clear and Sunny Wind 3 mph SW
Sunrise 6:10 am CDT Sunset 8:25 pm CDT
I am afraid that I have some bad news for you.
A neighbor stopped by a little while ago and I have just returned from their place.
I now have a dead loon in a plastic bag in the trunk of my car.
My neighbor's son was the first one to spot the dead loon on the beach. (Thank you Chase and Jason!)
All we know at this point is that it washed up on shore sometime between Sunday night and Tuesday morning.
What is so disheartening is that it is the male from the LoonCam.
The male that we watched with such suspense and heartbreak as he tried to decide whether to take care of the chick in the water or to stay on the nest and take care of the second egg. You will remember that difficult evening of watching the desperation of the male trying to decide what to do and the helplessness that we all felt.
Tomorrow I will take him to the DNR to see if they can determine what the cause of death was.
I looked and could not see any signs of fish hooks, fishing line or large cuts from an encounter with a boat motor.
Without going into too much detail, there had been predation on the neck and along the right side near the wing.
There was a small northern nearby that had also been partially eaten.
The neighbor had said that his wife had seen an eagle down on the shore yesterday morning apparently eating something. She did not think much of it since they had seen eagles down there before.
But apparently it may have been the eagle that caused the predation damage.
Now a huge question for next spring is, will the female come back to the LoonCam?
Will she find a new mate?
Will she nest next year?
Or will another pair of loons take over the LoonCam?
Will she be able to take care of this year's chick all alone?
What effect will this death of the male have on the chick? Fortunately the chick is now big enough that he is catching some of his own food. And in the next few weeks he will start his first tries at flying.
So we sadly say farewell to our male loon from the LoonCam, who we have come to know and love. The male who has been so faithful to the nest and to raising the chick. The male who has several other offspring to carry on his bloodline.
And who will be greatly missed.
Copyright 2015 Larry R Backlund