e-Newsletter Vol. 48
In This Issue
Member a Day in May
Loons & A Changing Climate

Upcoming Events

Fish Lead Free
Loon Behavior at a Glance: Preening
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With a record early ice-out this year on many lakes in New Hampshire, people started asking if the loons were going to nest earlier than usual.  I didn't think it was going to happen, but it looks like I may be wrong!  So far we have gotten reports of 3 loon pairs on nests: one in the Monadnock region, one in the Sunapee region, and one in the Lakes Region.  Two have been confirmed with photos (see below) and both nests were first observed exactly a week earlier than last year.
This loon stands to turn the egg(s) in its nest on Bolster Pond.  This is one of the first nesting reports of the 2016 season.  Photo: Brian Reilly.
Another early nest was established on Pleasant Lake on May 9.  The adults will take turns incubating the eggs for approximately 28 days.  Photo: Kittie Wilson

At this time of year, loons will often get on & off of their nest site before the eggs are laid so it can be tricky to determine if they are in fact nesting.  They need to make sure everything is just right before settling in!  A good way to know for sure is if they are sitting consistently on the nest for several days.  Another good sign that they may be nesting is if you are suddenly only seeing one loon swimming around the lake or territory by itself.

In other exciting news, the LIVE loon webcam is up and running for the 2016 season!  The pair has been on and off the nest site for the past few days so perhaps they will start nesting soon. Check out this time-lapse video taken this morning.  For all the early birds, the loons seem to be most active on the loon cam between 5-7 am. How cool is it to watch everything unfold from the comfort of your home?!  Since both adults are banded, we have confirmed that it is the same pair from previous years.  You may recall that the female was rescued in 2014 after being tangled in fishing line.  Thanks to our viewers, we were alerted to the situation and were able to respond quickly.  Last year one chick hatched from the nest and successfully left the lake in the fall.  I personally can't wait to watch them this year!  Try it out and let us know of any problems.
The webcam is mounted to a post in the water this year. 

A special thanks to the 10 hard-working volunteers who came to our raft and sign building workshop on Earth Day!  They built 10 new signs, 4 new rafts, and updated 3 existing rafts.  Wow- that's an impressive total for a few short hours!

We are eagerly looking forward to a wonderful day for loons next month!  Senate Bill 89 (SB 89) was originally signed by Governor Hassan in 2013, but there was a three year phase-in period to allow retailers and anglers to switch to non-lead tackle.  Effective June 1, 2016, the sale and freshwater use of lead fishing sinkers and lead jigs weighing one ounce or less will be banned in New Hampshire.  Please check out the Fish Lead Free website for more information.  It's going to be a great day for loons and other wildlife in New Hampshire!

We're gearing up for the field season which officially gets underway on May 23. As always, we welcome your sightings and reports anytime.  We have a lot of events on the calendar throughout the summer so make sure to check our website often!

All the best,

Susie Burbidge
Outreach/Volunteer Coordinator
Member A Day in May Update

As of May 10th, 17 new members have joined LPC in response to our Member a Day in May Membership Drive!  Even though we are more than halfway there we still need your help to achieve our goal of 31 new members in May.  Take a chance to win one of three great prizes: a 11" x 14" matted loon photograph, a $100 gift certificate to The Loon's Feather Gift Shop or a handcrafted loom decoy.  Click here for more information.

If you are already a member of LPC, thank you so much for your support.  Please consider forwarding this email to a friend who might be interested in the latest loon news and who might want to support our work as well. 
LPC Continues Investigation of Climate Impacts on Loons

After coming off of a warm winter with a record number of loons rescued from the ice, we are beginning to wonder what the weather has in store for us this summer.  Will it be another wet year with above average temperatures?   For a northern species like the Common Loon that nests at the water's edge, a warmer and wetter climate could have a large impact on their nesting success. To better anticipate this impact, we have started an investigation of the effects of climate on loon breeding success over the 40 years of LPC's loon monitoring data. Preliminary results show that from year to year both increased temperature and precipitation have impacted loon nesting success, with temperature a bigger factor in warmer southern and southeastern New Hampshire.

And it is not just loon nesting success that is affected by climate change.  In our Fall 2015 newsletter (see page 7), we reported on a loon last summer from pristine northern waters of Lake Umbagog that had been killed by avian malaria, the first documented mortality from malaria in loons.  A recent profile of the case in the Boston Globe highlighted the potential significance.  As the climate warms, loons and other wildlife will be increasingly exposed to pathogens, like malaria, that could not thrive in New Hampshire's cooler northern climate until now.  As part of LPC's investigation of climate impacts on loons, LPC is collaborating with Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (NHVDL), Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to investigate the threat of emerging diseases in loons.

With the help of our large network of volunteers, we have been able to quickly identify any sick or dying loons on our lakes, and data from LPC's mortality studies were instrumental in enacting the new legislation on lead fishing tackle, which will take effect in June. Through our existing monitoring program, we will continue to research the factors influencing New Hampshire loon mortality, with an increased focus on emerging diseases related to a changing climate.
For more information on the effort to detect and investigate this kind of disease in New England loons, click here.

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