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Loon rescue on Lake Sunapee

posted by Admin User at 2016-01-28 08:35:00

Tuesday morning a small group of Nordic skaters assisted the Loon Preservation Committee in rescuing loons trapped in the ice on Lake Sunapee. Sunday afternoon, while touring the lake on skates, we had spotted three adult loons floating in a tiny circle of open water way offshore. Though we didn't know it at the time, loons need a 'runway' of at least 100 feet of open water to become airborne and fly to their winter abode on the seacoast. If the ice closes in around them, they can't take off and they either die of exposure or fall victim to predators. The last time winter arrived late, in 2007, a large number of loons died on Lake Winnipesaukee, when the lake froze quickly in late January after unusually warm weather in November and December had fooled the birds into forgoing their annual migration.


When we skated out from shore Tuesday morning, in addition to the three loons we had seen Sunday, we found two more adult loons trapped in a second hole in the ice. It was an amazing experience accompanying John Cooley of the LPC as he netted all five loons, one at a time, wrapped them in blankets and towels, and towed them to shore in a flat-bottomed aluminum boat. The loons - one of which had been 'banded' in 1997 - will be nursed back to health (if necessary) and released in their customary winter home on the seacoast, where they will regrow their flight feathers before returning to freshwater nesting grounds in the spring. I'll keep you posted on their progress. Thanks to everyone who played a part in the rescue operation!

posted at: 2016-01-28 08:35:00, last updated: 2016-01-28 08:38:52