I'm really sorry to have to report that a recent check of our looncam family only found the two adults by themselves. I was able to talk with several camp owners that watch the loons very intently, and they confirmed that both chicks were lost. No cause was observed, which is an ongoing frustration for loon researchers. If only we had the ability to have eyes on them 24/7 after they leave the nest.
As I've discussed in earlier blogs, loon chicks face tough odds for survival. The 30 year average productivity for nesting loons in New England (measured by chicks fledged per nesting pair, per year) is .5/year. That means it takes the average pair four years just to replace themselves, and we know virtually nothing about their survival rate after fledging.
Although this is a very sad ending for our 2006 looncam family, you should all feel good that organizations like BioDiversty are monitoring common loons very closely. Through our efforts, many loon pairs are assured of having excellent breeding habitat ongoing, giving nesting pairs a good chance to successfully hatch young. What happens after chicks hatch is largely up to nature, and survival of the fittest.
Please check back for blogs concerning next years looncam, and other miscellaneous looncam news, and thanks again for all your excellent blogs and support. We need that to successfully continue this vital mission.
Best wishes to all!
BioDiversity Research Institute