Thursday, May 4, 2017 5:27 am CDT

45 degrees F   Clear   Wind Calm

Sunrise  5:57 am CDT    Sunset  8:23 pm CDT


So far everything seems to be advancing right on schedule.

The sun will not be up for another half hour.  The wind is calm but there are 'remains' of waves from overnight that are gently rocking the nesting platform.

And the loons have already done a swim around the nest.

They have not gotten up on the nest yet as I write this, but they have looked at the nest to make sure everything is still ok.

This seems to be normal activity for them - to check it at all times of the day and all conditions.  That way they can be sure it is a suitable and safe place for them to nest.

They are spending increasing amounts of time at and near the nest.

They have mated a number of times on the nest.  They have started to exhibit nest building behavior, which includes digging with their feet in the material on the nest to start to form a bowl for the eggs to be safely contained and to move material with their beaks to also build that bowl.

These are all very good signs that the loons have taken ownership of this nest and that they plan to lay their eggs here.

So what should you watch for?

Watch for the loons to visit the nest with increasing frequency.  Watch for them to spend longer times actually on the nest.  Watch for them to continue to form the nest bowl by digging with their feet and by moving nesting material with their beaks.  They will normally reach out and grab a piece of material an then place it alongside their body.  They will repeat this over and over.

At some point, it will look like there is more urgency to this nest building activity.

That is a very good sign that we are getting close to the laying of the first egg.

When the time comes for the actual laying of the egg, you will see the female start to make movements that show something new is going on.

Eventually she will almost prop herself up along the edge of the bowl of the nest with her feet somewhat extended.  She will spread her wings slightly to steady herself.

It will take some minutes of this activity.  But then all of a sudden with a rapid "pop", the egg will almost shoot into the nest.  

At that point she may lay their for a few minutes while she recovers from all the hard exertion.

I remember a few years ago the first time I saw the laying of an egg as it happened.  It was one of the few times that anyone has ever seen the actual laying of a loon egg.  They build their nests in such hidden areas that few people even see the nest.  Let alone the actual laying of an egg.

As far as anyone knows, when we were able to catch it on video, it was the first time anyone had caught the actual laying of a loon egg on video.

This was before we started the LoonCam live webcam.  Now it is "old hat" to many of you.  You have seen several eggs being laid.  And you know what to look for in the loon's behavior that indicates egg laying may be near.  You have seen much more than what the most knowledgeable researchers were able to see for decades and decades.

In fact, many loon researchers watch the LoonCam to see things they could never see if they were out in the 'wild'.

When we captured that first egg laying on video, the light was just right so that the newly laid loon egg looked like it was made out of pure gold.

I think we are going to see the first egg laid in the next couple days.

So let's hope for a view of that "GOLDEN EGG".


Copyright 2017   Larry R Backlund