Catching Up On Questions
Good morning. As July swiftly approaches (too swiftly for many of us trying to saver the brief Maine summer), I'm trying to remain optimistic that our loons might still nest. That's a remote possibility, at this point. I do remind myself, however, that it's not uncommon for loons to surprise us, especially the minute we think we have them figured out.
Undoubtedly, the reason they haven't nested, so far, is the constant presence and disturbance from this other male. Despite many battles, the host, banded male has not been successful driving this intruder away. I'm quite certain that when Fidel and WOW report seeing three loons together, it is the banded male, his female mate, and this other male.
From our years of studying this species, this is usually a sign that the pair bond between our host pair has somewhat weakened, and the intruder senses an opportunity to take the territory. It's encouraging that the banded male is still hanging in there, battle scarred and all.
The eagles that have been perching in the tree would not have impacted the loons nesting. They don't have a nest on the pond, but do have one nearby, and often feed on the pond where these loons reside. They are a serious threat to the chicks, however, as residents have reported eagles taking chicks in recent years.
The loons on our loon cam install video are a different pair, unrelated to this nest. We thought everyone would like to see some actual footage of nesting loons, since this pair have been seen so infrequently, this year.
Floating a raft would not aid this pair. They have an excellent natural location, that has been very productive until the last two years. Rafts are great tools where natural nest habitat is poor, or where dramatic water level fluctuations frequently cause nests to fail.
As for the age of the banded male - that's unknown. Loon researchers have yet to figure out an accurate way to age loons. We do know that he has been in this territory since we first banded him in 2001. Whether he had another territory somewhere else, prior, is not known. He may have many years still to live, and breed, if he survives the spirited challenge of this newcomer. What we don't know, assuming he is fortunate enough to survive, is will he keep control of this territory. Stay tuned, and we'll all learn that together.