Give Loons Some Space

They’re back! The Common Loon (Gavia immer), the bird whose image and melancholy tremoloCommon Loon with chick. Photo by Chris Adams. evokes so much about the North Country, has arrived on area lakes and ponds. The non-profit Northern Forest Canoe Trail reminds canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard users that loons should be viewed from a respectful distance and nesting areas should be avoided.

Common Loons can be found breeding on lakes and ponds along the entire 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Upon returning to their nesting grounds, paired birds will attempt to raise one or two chicks to adulthood. May through August is a critical time for the next generation of birds. Avoid getting within 300 feet of loon nesting areas. Paddling too close to a nursery can cause parents to abandon a nest.

Loons nest very close to shore, on islands, in marshy areas and, in some locations, floating nest platforms that have been placed by state conservation agencies and volunteers. Paddlers should avoid pursuing loons for a photo, video, or even a selfie. Use binoculars instead! If a bird is disturbed off its nest, depart immediately and refrain from getting closer to the suspected nest site.

Loons are monogamous and pairs may stay together for five years. Loons spend the winter months in coastal waters as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.

To learn more about loons and protection efforts along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, visit Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, Vermont Loon Recovery ProjectLoon Preservation Committee, and Maine Audubon Loon Project.


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