Loon Fight
                                                    e-Newsletter Vol. 3
In This Issue
The Loss of 3 Dear Friends
2010 Field Season at a Glance
Stories from the Field- A Loon Rescue

Upcoming Events

Did You Know?
The gray-brown winter plumage of the loon is also known as the basic plumage.
e-Newsletter Contributors
Susie Burbidge
John Cooley
Carl Johnson, Jr.
Sam Merker
Harry Vogel

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P.O. Box 604
183 Lee's Mill Road
Moultonborough, NH 03254
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Happy Fall!

There's a chill in the air and the days are getting shorter, but this is such a wonderful time of year.  It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  LPC's Holiday Open House  is scheduled for Saturday, November 27 from 10 am-2 pm.  There will be plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy and the raffle prizes will be drawn at the event.

It's been a busy fall for all of us at the Loon Center.  Harry & John have been working on the Loon Recovery Plan, and Lin and Nancy have been settling into their new positions with LPC.  We said goodbye to Rachel Williams who worked at the Loon Center for 9 years.  She recently got married and moved to Vermont.  We wish her all the best and hope she comes back to visit us often!

I spent 3 weeks in September working in the Gulf for my former employer, Tri-State Bird Rescue.  While there, I worked in 3 of the 4 oiled wildlife facilities.  Over 2,000 birds were brought to the rehabilitation centers across four states (LA, MS, AL and FL), and approximately 60% of the birds were released.  Luckily it did not seem like many loons were impacted by the spill thus far.  But loons and other migratory bird species will be monitored in the coming months as they winter in the Gulf of Mexico.  One such project is Kevin Kenow's satellite tracking of Common Loons from Wisconsin.  Check out the real-time locations of these loons at: www.umesc.usgs.gov/terrestrial/migratory_birds/loons/migrations.html

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Susie Burbidge
Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator

The Loss of 3 Dear Friends

 Sen. Carl JohnsonJoe Kabat
Photo Credits: (L) Erin Plummer, Meredith News; (R) Cynthia Geiger


We are deeply saddened by the loss of 3 dear friends: Senator Carl Johnson, Jeannette Johnson and Joe Kabat.  Senator Carl Johnson first entered the political arena in 1990 when he was elected as a state representative (the first of 2 terms).  He was then elected to the State Senate in which he served until 2006.  While in office, Senator Johnson was instrumental in passing the lead sinker bill to protect loons and other wildlife.  As an advocate of NH's natural resources he also supported the Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and created the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act of 1992.  He has been recognized by several conservation organizations including Society for the Protection of NH Forests, The Lakes Region Conservation Trust, The NH Lakes Association, The NH Board of Realtors for conservation efforts, NH Audubon Society and LPC.  During LPC's 2010 Annual Meeting, he was presented with an award recognizing his many years of service and dedication to the Loon Recovery Plan.  In the photo above on the left, Senator Johnson is holding his award alongside good friend and executive councilor, Ray Burton, who spoke about his outstanding record of public service.  Just 5 days after Senator Carl Johson's death, his wife Jeannette Johnson passed away at Lakes Regional Hospital.  They were together for 71 years. In honor of his support for the Loon Recovery Plan, donations can be made through the Honorable Carl & Jeanette Johnson Memorial Fund.


On October 10th, long-time LPC Board member Joe Kabat passed away at his home on Little Squam Lake.  Joe was involved with LPC as a member and active volunteer since first buying his camp on Little Squam 16 years ago.  Joe joined LPC's Board in 2004, and served as Co-Chair of LPC's Technical Committee beginning in 2006 and on LPC's Executive Committee beginning this year.  Joe introduced many people to loons on the Squam Lakes from his boat, the "Be Prepared," and was involved in many facets of protecting loons, eagles and other wildlife on the Squam Lakes and state-wide.  He also volunteered his time for many other organizations including New Hampshire Audubon, the Rivier Institute of Senior Education (RISE) at Rivier College, Squam Lakes Association, the Daniel Webster Council of Boy Scouts of America, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, and his alma mater, Dartmouth College.  The Loon Preservation Committee was one of several organizations named to receive donations in honor of Joe's exemplary service to all of these causes.

2010 Field Season at a Glance


AdultOverall we saw an increase in productivity this season with a total of 170 chicks hatched from close to 120 nesting territories.  This is a 10% gain from last year with 0.47 chicks surviving per territorial pair.  This value is closer to the estimated long-term level of 0.48 cs/tp to maintain a sustainable population of loons in New Hampshire.  There were fewer unpaired adults this season so less rogue loon intrusions on some lakes.  Additionally, drier weather might have contributed to the success with fewer flooded nests, but it also led to stranded nests as water levels continued to fall.  Even though ice-out was approximately 3 weeks earlier this year than the 35-year average, nest initiation on average was only 3 days earlier than usual. 


For a detailed account of the 2010 field season, please check out the Fall Newsletter which will be coming out soon.  If you are not a member of LPC, please consider joining and you will receive the full newsletter 3 times/year (http://www.loon.org/memberships.php)! 


 Photo by John Rockwood

Like Clockwork-A Loon Rescue on Pawtuckaway

Sam Merker, LPC Seacost Field Bioloist 2009-2010

It is late evening on a Tuesday in mid-July and I've just finished paddling the western side of Massabesic Lake in Manchester, NH. Surveys of four territories and many loons on that side of the lake made for an exhausting trip, but it had to be done.  After securing my kayak to the top of my car I flop down in the driver's seat only to find a missed call from John Cooley at the Loon Center, relaying the news that there is a loon in distress on Pawtuckaway Lake, back on the eastern side of my region.   A NH Fish and Game Conservation Officer is on the scene and apparently attempting to capture the loon. My mission: join the capture effort and get the rescued loon to a vet.

I am afraid this is easier said than done.  I have no net, no box, one towel (which I would like to keep clean), and likely only me and my kayak. Loons prove to be some of the most difficult birds to catch as they spend a great deal of time underwater and even when they are tangled in fishing line can often still dive and swim rather far. I call John and remind him of all this,  and then call the Conservation Officer who informs me that they have a boat, net and team and are already on the water. Yikes! I hit the road and drive as fast as I can legally muster to Nottingham town beach where, apparently, this is all taking place.

Upon my arrival I find the CO and a handful of onlookers clustered around a covered basket, containing the loon. Phew. Caught already.  How nice! With little hassle or contention I load the basket into my backseat and hit the road for Arbor Veterinary, a small clinic only five minutes away.  Although they are not a wildlife center or rehabilitator they do take my call-my roommate works there.  And let's face it, who doesn't want to see a loon up close and personal?

When I arrive, an examining room is ready and the doctor is in.  Myself, the doctor, and 4 vet techs carefully wrangle the loon out of the basket and begin our inspection.  The loon was initially reported to be so tangled in fishing line that it could not open its wings or dive, but oddly, we find no line on it at all. And the conservation officer said he did not remove any. Strange.  However, the biggest treble hook I have ever seen is sticking out of this loon's throat! Upon further inspection we find that it is only pinching the skin and not deeply embedded.  Dr. Williams takes his tool kit, cuts the hook, and pulls it from the bird's neck. The next step is to feel the wings, the legs, open the mouth, feel the breast and stomach, and inspect the feces for lead symptoms. All clear, we soak the bird with some cold water and re-basket. My next stop is at nearby Wheelwright pond where I release the loon to rehabilitate itself with some fresh fish and a fresh drink of water. When I check the pond in the next few weeks there's no sign of the loon and I assume it has found its way back to normal hook-free living.  Not all loon rescues are this easy or have such a brilliant ending.  As I leave Wheelwright after the drop-off and head home, a few hours later than anticipated, I'm tired but satisfied: all in a day's work, and another loon saved!

The Loon Preservation Committee is dedicated to restoring and maintaining a healthy population of loons throughout New Hampshire; monitoring the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and promoting a greater understanding of loons and the natural world.
Loon Preservation Committee
Save 20%

The Loon's Feather Gift Shop, located at the Loon Center in Moultonborough, is chock full of new and interesting items for loon lovers.  Bring in your coupon and receive 20% off any non-sale item (sorry, this does not include items on consignment).

You can also visit our gift shop online (coupon does not apply to online purchases).