84 degrees F Sunny Wind Calm
Sunrise 5:28 am CDT Sunset 8:54 pm CDT
It is a BEAUTIFUL day here today in Minnesota.
Deep blue skies. Warm temperatures. And only zephyr winds instead of the gales that we have had so much of.
Both loons have been very faithfully tending to the 2 eggs on the nest.
So far there is no sign of hatching. Either from the loon on the nest, nor could I see any signs of pipping on the eggs when the loons made the shift change.
But we are ever so close to the expected hatching!
If only we could peek inside the eggs to see what is going on. Or listen to the possibility of a little loon chick already peeping inside the egg.
But wait we must.
There is nothing we can do to speed it up. Or slow it down. It happens on Someone else's time frame.
Tonight at 7 pm we mark the 26 day mark of when the first egg was laid. Commonly accepted 'wisdom' is that loons incubate for 28 days. But we have seen them hatch before the 28 days is up. So this year will add more information to our knowledge about loons.
For those of you who may be new to this whole loon experience, unlike most birds, the little loons do not stay on the nest for very long. In fact, in most instances they leave the nest and get into the water withing about 24 hours of hatching.
If they want to return to the nest, there is a "chick ramp" just out of sight down below the camera. But most times when the chick gets in the water, it stays in the water with the parents. Sometimes the first chick will stay on the nest until the second chick happens, but I have seen every combination of what happens.
The chicks are able to swim shortly after they hatch. They are called precocious which means they are able to get about on their own very early.
They are not able to feed themselves for a number of weeks. And so they rely on the parents to bring them their food. Usually tiny little minnows at first and then larger and large as they grow.
And grow they do. Very fast.
For the first couple weeks the chicks will ride on the backs of the parents. That image of the beautiful chicks riding on the adult loon's back is so iconic and special.
By the time they are two or three weeks old, they have already become large enough that it is more and more difficult for them to get on the parent's back.
But even at that point, it will still be necessary for them to be fed by the parents.
So they will stay very close to the parents. At two or three weeks, they start to try to dive but it is difficult.
They tend to just pop to the surface like a cork.
That is why it is SO important for boaters to watch for loons. And adult can dive out of the way of a fast moving boat. Although adult loons are also killed by being struck by a boat or a jet ski.
But a baby loon cannot dive to get out of the way. And so if a boat is coming at them, they have no way to keep from being hit.
Share that information with your boating friends and neighbors.
But for now, we wait for the first indication of a hatch taking place.
And we especially wait for that first MAGICAL view of a new little loon chick!
Copyright 2017 Larry R Backlund