Loon Fight

                                                    e-Newsletter Vol. 5
In This Issue
Common Loons in Winter
Recent Happenings
Volunteer Opportunity in the North Country
Did You Know?
The British name for the Common Loon is the Great Northern Diver.

Upcoming Events

LPC Winter Event

Saturday, March 5

5-7 pm @ The Woodshed in Moultonborough


Northeast Loon Study Workgroup (NELSWG) Meeting

March 28-29, 2011

(Information about the meeting will be updated soon) 

Contact Us 
P.O. Box 604
183 Lee's Mill Road
Moultonborough, NH 03254
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I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with friends and family.  Thank you to everyone who donated to our Annual Appeal and for your generous contributions throughout the year.  January always seems to go by so quickly, but that means in a few more months the ice will recede from the lakes and the loons will return! 

Are you looking for something to do this winter?  The Loon Center is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 am - 5 pm until May 1st.  The trails at the Markus Wildlife Sanctuary are perfect for snowshoeing, especially with all the fresh snow we've gotten recently.  Keep your eyes open for some cool tracks or other signs of wildlife that spend the winter in these woods.  2011 Lang Calendar

While at the Loon Center, don't forget to pick up a "Loons on the Lake" 2011 Wall Calendar.  We are also happy to mail it to you if you cannot make it to the Loon Center in person.  Not only will the calendar help keep you more organized this year, it is also a good educational tool.  We were surprised to see that the image for the month of January was a Common Merganser!  This is a fairly common mistake as many people confuse mergansers and loons.  Male Common MerganserThey are both diving birds, however, there are some major differences between the two: (1) mergansers can walk on land, (2) mergansers have long, thin, reddish-orange bills, (3) mergansers nest in tree cavities, and (4) mergansers can have as many as 17 chicks (clutch size is 6-17 eggs)!     

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow so it looks like we will have an early spring.  I'm interested to see what March will bring (although I have to admit, I am loving the snow)!

All the best,

Susie Burbidge
Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator

 Commons Loons in Winter

 Winter Loon

Common loons undergo a complete flight feather molt while on their wintering grounds (usually in February) which renders them flightless for a few weeks.  At this time, they are more vulnerable to environmental disturbances.  A few a years ago, approximately 17 loons died on Lake Winnipesaukee because they molted their flight feathers prematurely and were stuck on the ice.  The unseasonably warm winter temperatures "convinced" the birds to stay on the lake, but temperatures started to plummet and the lake froze quickly.  The full story can be found in LPC's Spring 2007 Newsletter 



As you may already know, loons lose their striking black and white breeding plumage for a more subtle greyish-brown plumage for the winter.  Our NH loons spend the winter along the New England coast and travel as far south as the Long Island Sound.  They select areas with a good food source and less exposure to storms and harsh winter weather.  Loons are often spotted close to shore, near protected bays, inlets and channels, and over shoals.  Loons maintain contact with each other with hoots and short wails (although it's probably hard to hear over the sound of the surf), but overall vocalizations are much less frequent on the wintering grounds. 

Recent Happenings

Egg Processing

John Cooley & Harry Vogel went to Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) a few weeks ago to process loon eggs that were collected last summer.  The eggs were either abandoned or did not hatch.  They measured the length and width, using the calipers shown in the picture (to the right of the scale). The weight and volume of the eggs was also measured.  The eggs were opened to determine the developmental stage of the embryo and the contents were freeze-dried to be tested later for mercury. 


Have you been following Kevin Kenow's (UMESC) loon migration study?  Follow the link and click on "current locations of loons in this study" for the most up-to-date information.


Lastly, a stranded loon was rescued on January 26th from the Portsmouth traffic circle.  Special thanks to NH Fish & Game Conservation Officer Town for rescuing the bird and releasing it safely back on the coast! 

Help Support the Conservation of Loon Habitat in the North Country


Are you interested in the North Country's lakes and rivers? If so, the Center for the Environment (CFE) at Plymouth State University (PSU) and NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) are looking for volunteers to help monitor our surface water quality.  Loon Preservation Committee and PSU have collaborated on other research projects in recent years and we are hopeful that DES/PSU volunteer water quality monitoring will support the conservation of loon habitat.   


Volunteers typically sample lakes and rivers one to three times per summer. The data from the water samples become part of a statewide database that is used to report on the health of our water bodies as required by the Clean Water Act.  Only a small number of lakes and rivers in the North Country are involved in the Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP) and the Volunteer River Assessment Program (VRAP).  Increasing the number of water bodies being actively monitored will help state officials track their health and support the North Country's economy.  Through sustained water quality monitoring, DES can quickly address water quality problems that can avoid costly restoration projects.


If you are interested in learning more about becoming a water quality monitoring volunteer, please contact either Aaron Johnson at the Environmental Research Laboratory, 603-535-3269, cfe-lab@plymouth.edu or June Hammond Rowan at PSU's Center for the Environment, 603-535-3218, jhammondrowan@plymouth.edu.



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 newly expanded online store (coupon does not apply to online purchases).