It’s high time I updated the Loon Survey I did for Bird Studies Canada this past summer. You can read about the survey, and see pictures of the eggs, fledglings, and adult loons, on my previous posts: Loon Survey, Part One, and Loon Survey, Part Two.
In late August I returned to Leisure Lake, near Bragg Creek, to check on the Common Loon family. The purpose of the third visit, late in the season, is to see if the young loons have survived. Like all birds, loons have a high rate of mortality among fledglings.
I was happy to find that the two young, still in their brown plumage, were doing well. They were starting to look like adults. (Click on any picture to enlarge it.)
Juvenile Common Loon, about two months old.
The two juveniles with an adult.
However, despite making a long slow circuit of the entire lake, I only saw one of the parent loons. I thought that perhaps one of the adults was hiding on shore somewhere, but I’ve been told that loons are so ungainly on land that they only go ashore to incubate their eggs. It’s possible that it was in the reeds somewhere and I missed it, but that seems unlikely. Perhaps one of the adults departed for the wintering grounds earlier than the other adult and the young. I don’t know if they normally do that or if they all leave together. The other possibility is that the missing adult succumbed to disease or a predator. It will be interesting to see what happens there next spring.
If you want to participate in the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey, there are plenty of unmonitored lakes with loons on them. Contact Bird Studies Canada for more information. Here is a link to the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey page.
Posted by Bob Lefebvre