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                                                    e-Newsletter Vol. 7
In This Issue
Birdathon & Bloomathon
Back on Track: Three Spring Rescue Efforts
NH eBird

Upcoming Events

Raft & Sign Building Workshops

May 6 & May 7


Birdathon & Bloomathon

May 21


Summer Nature Talks

July 7-August 25


Carl R. Johnson Memorial Golf Tournament

August 15 

Did You Know?
The black & white breeding plumage of the loon is also known as the alternate plumage.
Contact Us 
P.O. Box 604
Lee's Mill Road
Moultonborough, NH 03254
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This e-newsletter is dedicated to Cow Island resident Chet Juszczak who recently passed away one day after assisting with a loon rescue.  Our condolences go out to his family & friends.



Spring is (finally) in the air! The first returning loon was spotted on Massabesic Lake on March 29th!  At the same time LPC was hosting the 22nd Annual Northeast Loon Study Working Group (NELSWG) meeting.  Members at the meeting represented all of the New England states, as well as, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York and Canada, and were from non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies and universities.  Topics included state updates on management and monitoring, pathology, lead and other contaminants, recovery potential in Massachusetts, and education and outreach. Since early April we have been hearing additional reports of loons returning to lakes across the state.  There have also been a few loon rescues this spring which are detailed in the article below


Loon Return

Photo by Peter Broom



 We are busy getting ready for the upcoming field season.  There are different field volunteer opportunities with LPC including conducting the loon census or recording your observations whether you visit a lake once during the summer, or frequent your favorite spot every week.  If you are interested in volunteering click here.  We are holding 2 raft & sign building workshops at The Loon Center on Friday, May 6 from 9-3 & Saturday, May 7 from 9-12.  For more information or if you'd like to join us, please call LPC at 603-476-5666. 


Don't forget if you're looking for that perfect Mother's Day gift, check out our online store.  We just added 13 new items so I'm sure you'll find something special for the loon-lover in your family.  


Hope to see you out on the lakes, but make sure to give the loons plenty of space!


All the best,





Birdathon & Bloomathon

Saturday, May 21


The annual Birdathon/Bloomathon event, held by the Lakes Region Chapter of New Hampshire Audubon, will take place this year on Saturday, May 21. Expert birders Tony Vazzano, Ned Beecher, and Bob Ridgely, along with Chris Clyne on wildflowers, will hit the birding hotspots of Tamworth, Moultonborough, Sandwich, and vicinity, and try to see as many species of birds and flowers as they possibly can in one day. The Birdathon has been a spring tradition in the northern Lakes Region for well over twenty years, and with the help of Betty Steele and other volunteers, has raised thousands of dollars in pledges over the years for Audubon and the Loon Preservation Committee.  The Lakes Region Chapter will receive ten percent of the proceeds to support their free nature talks, presented monthly at the Loon Center during fall, winter, and spring, while the remaining 90 percent goes to support LPC and their efforts to save our loons. 
We encourage anyone who loves loons to pledge by the species.  In past years, the Birdathon/Bloomathon has spotted around 170-180 species, so a pledge of 25 cents would mean a donation of approximately $45 to LPC.  All donors will receive a checklist of the species seen during our "Big Day."  If you would like to donate please visit us online or call LPC at 603-476-5666 to pledge.


For those donors who would like to get out in the field and try to see some of our beautiful spring migrants for themselves, chapter president Jane Rice will lead a bird walk at the Markus Sanctuary, adjacent to the Loon Center on Lee's Mills Road on Saturday, May 21, at 7:00 a.m. 

RescuesBack on Track: Three Rescue Efforts to Assist Migrating Loons

By John Cooley


We were surprised to see three loon rescues in just over two weeks this month, all migrating loons that apparently crashed en route.   The first came on April 8, on Lake Winnipesaukee.  A stranded loon was reported on the still-frozen Broads, and with the help of Jerry Whiteleather and Caroline McNerny, LPC biologist John Cooley retrieved the loon by hovercraft.


HovercraftLoon on Ice

                  Photos by Jerry Whiteleather


The loon was exhausted when we picked it up.  There was a slushy trail from its take-off attempts on the ice for over a mile, from near Parker Island to the northern corner of Rattlesnake Island.  Unfortunately, in spite of prompt treatment over the following two days from rehabilitator Kappy Sprenger and then Avian Haven in Freedom Maine, the loon died from crash-landing injuries to its back and head.  This was a banded loon, originally captured and marked as a breeding adult at Whortleberry Island in 2003.  So, we know he was at least 11 years old and probably at least 13-14 years.  Migrating loons are able to arrive shortly after iceout by flying reconnaissance trips ahead of the thaw, to look for open water, and this loon must have run into trouble as he checked for open water on his home lake.  


The second rescue came on Wednesday evening, April 20th.  Former LPC field biologist and current US Forest Service employee Kori Marchowsky was surprised to discover a stranded loon in Crawford Notch.  The loon, probably flying through the Notch, had apparently crash landed on the side of Rt 302, perhaps mistaking it for open water in the sleet and rain that was falling at the time.  The loon appeared to be in good condition, so it was taken to the Saco River in Bartlett Village where it was released.


Finally, for the third rescue NH Fish and Game Officer Matt Holmes picked up a stranded loon near Twin Mountain, NH on Saturday April 23rd.  Once again, the loon was scraped up from crashing on dry land, but otherwise appeared uninjured.  As a precaution, it was transferred to rehabilitator Kappy Sprenger. She reported on Monday that the loon was a healthy weight (11+ pounds), feisty, eating well, and probably ready for release within the week.


We usually hear about or respond to a loon crash-landing on migration every year or two.  Perhaps the risk of crash landing on migration or iceout reconnaissance flights is the downside of a bigger body size for New England loons, with the heaviest body weight of any loon population.  These migration incidents demonstrate the physical rigors of long-distance flight and the demands of looking for open water as the lakes thaw, and we track the crash-landings with added interest because in some cases they may be the first sign of compromised health in the individual loons. 


For another mention of migrating loons at a healthy altitude-flying over New Hampshire's Presidential Range instead of through the notches-see this blog report of loons in flight above Mt. Eisenhower in early February, 2008:







NH eBird

A useful tool for reporting loon sightings


eBird was developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society in 2002 as a way to collect data on bird abundance and distribution.  In 2009, New Hampshire Audubon (NHA) and New Hampshire Bird Records teamed up to create NH eBird which allows people to report sightings from the state of NH only.  In reference to loons, it is a great resource to report the date of arrival after ice-out.  It can also be used to record the date the loons leave the lakes in the fall.  For more information on NH eBird, please visit this link.


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.


Susie Burbidge
Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator
Loon Preservation Committee