Good News and Bad News: Epilogues from Posts Past

I have related several stories about the adventures and misadventures about loons in the study area, and I want to update followers on how those loons are faring. As one might expect, some loons that encountered difficulties were not able to recover, while other loons beat the odds and remain healthy and vigorous.

2 August Post

Two chicks strayed from their parents’ territories to other territories on the same big lake, mingling with other families that were already raising larger and older chicks. In one case, the stray chick was apparently lost, as we have not been able to relocate the Pickerel-South chick that joined the Pickerel-West family. But the Thunder chick, which was considerably smaller than the two Boom-Hodag chicks, joined them and has gained full acceptance by the adults and its larger foster sibs, according to Kristin’s recent observations. (Today she reported that the adults are feeding the interloper!) While we do not understand why it left its parents to join another family, the Thunder chick has continued to thrive despite its dubious decision.

25 July Post

The orphan that we placed with the new pair to complete a family of two adults and two chicks has been fully accepted and is growing and being fed by its foster parents. Its acceptance is so complete, in fact, that we are having to use a simple genetic test to determine which is the biological chick and which is the orphan!

9 July Post

The territorial male that became entangled in fishing line in late June has died. We had thought that he would bounce back after Wild Instincts fed him and treated his wounds and we placed him back on his territory. Alas, he was unable to regain the weight he lost, and he did not survive for more than a few days after release. Since we used a similar protocol to treat and release another male in 2012 that survived, we are a bit puzzled by this male’s rapid demise. Obviously, the details of a loon’s injuries and its precise condition when released dictate its chances of recovery. We are sad to lose this male, who was a vigorous defender of his territory and produced three big healthy chicks during his life: two in 2009 and one in 2010.