Wednesday, June 12, 2019 5:49 am CDT

54 degrees F Partly Cloudy Wind NW 9 mph

Sunrise 5:24 am CDT Sunset 9:01 pm CDT

15 hours 37 minutes of daylight

A number of people yesterday were raising questions about our loons and especially Chick #2.

As far as I know, he is ok. The last time I saw him was a few hours after I rescued him on Monday night.

At dusk on Monday night, he was well and swimming with the adults.

I saw our loons several times during the day yesterday. Each time they were some distance away. With the haze from the rain, all I could see is that the adults seemed to be peacefully swimming together. But because of the rain, I could not make out whether Chick #2 was swimming near them or on their back.

Everything looked normal and I was not concerned.

I was gone from late afternoon through the evening for a show of hundreds of outstanding high school theatrical drama and acting students at something called the Spotlight Showcase at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. What amazing kids and what amazing talent. I did not get home until late at night from that show so I did not have a chance to see our loons last night.

Nor have I seen them yet this morning.

I have no reason at this point to believe that anything has happened to our Chick #2 other than that others are raising the question. And that small loon chicks are always vulnerable to SO many dangers. Eagles, large fish, turtles, boats, jet skis and so many other dangers.

I wish I could give you a definitive answer that I have seen our chick this morning. But I cannot as of yet.

I will keep looking throughout the day and let you know if and when I see him.

It is just a reminder of how vulnerable the loon chicks are at this early stage of their life.

They are little fluffy ‘corks’ that cannot yet dive to get out of danger.

So if a fast boat or jet ski comes along, they are very vulnerable to being hit. And in defense of the boaters, that chick is SO tiny on the big lake that he is very hard to see. But it is a reminder that if you are out boating, to be aware that if you see adult loons, be aware that they may have tiny little chicks with them. And give them a wide berth.

Or if an eagle dives down on them, the chick cannot dive to get out of danger.

And of course a bass or northern or muskie looks at a chick floating on the surface as a very tasty snack. I don’t mean to be negative - just realistic of what our little loon chicks are faced with that we may be unaware of and never see.

So remind your friends and family to be careful and respectful when they are out on the lake.

Sometimes we love our loons TOO much! Especially if they have chicks. It is a natural reaction among all of us that we want to get close to them. We want to see them close up. Those “AWWWWWW, cute” moments.

That is a major part of why we all watch the LoonCam.

But the advantage of the LoonCam is that we can get that up close and personal view of our loons, especially the beautiful chicks without disturbing them.

On Monday afternoon I watched as a woman with a very young child on a jet ski circled out loons and Chick #2 out in the middle of the lake over and over and over. They circled the loons over six times that I saw. They were often within only a couple feet of the loons!

I tried to wave them away but they were so far away that they did not see me. They were concentrated only on looking at the loons and the loon chick.

The loons were not happy. They called repeatedly about this threat.

I am sure the woman, who I assume was the little child’s mother, was excited about showing her child loon’s up close. And especially the little chick. And I am sure that it was a wonderful experience that the child will never forget.

But it was very stressful our loons and the chick.

You know what? In the big scheme of things, that ONE encounter would not do too much damage to our loons or the chick.

But what we do not stop to think about, is that we are not the only one that wants that up close experience with the loons.

After we have left from an incident like that, a few minutes later someone else may want to do the same thing.

And then another. And another. And another. And another.

And the effect of all those close encounters take a toll on our loons. And if the chick gets separated from the adults, he is VERY vulnerable to all kinds of predators and danger. I am as bad as anyone of having that desire to see the loons close up. But I know the damage it can do and fight the urge.

So let that jet ski with the child incident be a gentle reminder to all of us to enjoy our beautiful loons from a distance this summer. That way, with binoculars or a telescope, we can enjoy our loons without putting them in danger.

So have a wonderful summer ‘loon day’ today.

Copyright 2019 Larry R Backlund