As we quickly enter loon nesting season, we have placed our 3 loon nesting platforms from last year’s Eagle Scout project with the Proctor BSA troop #84. We have tried 3 locations close to shore but away from land predators. As you kayak and boat in the areas around our lake you will see the platforms by the Work Farm shoreline, Birch Point creek inlet, and at the little creek at the end of Sunny Lane. Please give the platforms and loons space to help preserve this beautiful bird.
Hangover—When nesting loons detect a threat, they assume the ‘hangover’ position. In hangover, loons flatten themselves low against the nest and angle their head and bill toward the water. This position helps to minimize the loon’s appearance and is likely an attempt to avoid detection by a perceived threat. This position also allows loons to quickly get off of the nest and into the water (where they are more mobile and therefore less vulnerable) should the threat remain in the area. Loons may assume hangover position when closely approached by a predator, but we most frequently see this behavior when people or boats approach the nest too closely.
A loon that is comfortable and not feeling threatened will sit tall on the nest, with its head upright and looking around. If you are on the water and notice a loon in hangover position, that loon is in distress, and the best course of action is to leave the area to avoid causing the loon to flush off of the nest. If the loon flushes the nest, its eggs are left vulnerable to predation and to temperature changes that can cause the embryo to stop developing. If a loon is flushed from the nest, it will typically get back on if the threat leaves the area. If you ever accidentally cause a loon to flush the nest, please leave the area immediately—if you do, 9 times out of 10 that loon will get back on its nest and continue to care for its eggs.