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More recently, geologically speaking–several million years ago–retreating glaciers filled freshwater lakes across northern North America. A male with a chick had been captured for banding and routine testing and was discovered to have elevated levels of lead. By staying home, we will defeat this. The good news from our little pond masks troubling, even drastic, recent declines on some of the region’s biggest and wildest North Country lakes: Moosehead, Rangeley, Winnipesaukee, and, especially, Squam, for so many years North America’s poster lake for loons. Seven years later, an oil spill in Buzzard’s Bay killed more than 200 loons as they flocked up for spring migration. the Loon Preservation Committee and the Squam Lakes Association (SLA) helps to protect loon chicks on the Squam Lakes and educate lake users about the needs of the loons. The constancy of the sitting–in rain, in wind, in heat–strikes me as real work. Over the next weeks, we see him struggle a few times and get briefly airborne, only to drift back to the water. A single pair of loons defends a portion of a large lake like Squam, and often the same loons return to their territory year after year. Wood’s fate and that of loons would intersect at a singular place: Squam Lake in central New Hampshire. In the mid-1800s, Henry David Thoreau studied loons on Walden Pond. Their set of nesting requirements is narrow: They need clear, clean water; abundant fish stocks; and undisturbed areas in which to raise their young. A lone bullfrog booms, then a whole chorus. Spitzer had observed an equally dramatic fall-off in populations of wintering loons in Chesapeake Bay and off the coast of North Carolina. The Loons of Squam Lake By William Graham Poet, novelist and travel writer William Graham is a resident of Stowe, Vermont and author of “Seven Continents: A Travel Memoir.” In the chapter called “Brute Neighbors” in Walden, Thoreau describes a playful encounter with a diving loon. By the 1950s, the cry of the loon hadn’t been heard in Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts for nearly a century. The southern edge of its breeding range crept across the borders of New Hampshire and Vermont and continued northward. It's the only way. She says our pond–30 acres at best–may be the smallest in the state hosting a nesting pair. The law was the first in the nation to restrict lead fishing gear. Native stories described mystical connections between loons and human beings. I yell up to the house and Jim comes running down. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center: Take the summer loon cruise! The male seems to think so, too, because he occasionally yodels with no predator in sight, no eagle or small airplane passing overhead. Wood’s Mercedes, sporting a LOONS license plate, became a familiar sight around the lake. I dwell on their evolution because recent DNA sampling has revealed a striking lack of genetic diversity among common loons, suggesting that they squeezed through a genetic bottleneck around 10,000 years ago. Now I call the female “the flighty young thing.” When the male yodels at her, I swear I see her toss her head and glide away. I see him on the nest and see persistence, along with the strength and size, and perhaps also a wisdom born of experience. Attempts to recapture the male proved unsuccessful. Levels of contaminants from Squam eggs during 2005-2007 were two to nine times higher than levels found in eggs collected from the other lakes. Sir: I read the very interesting article about loons. Assess causes of nest failure and collect inviable eggs from failed nests for analysis of a wide range of contaminants and pathogens. English Cottage in Vermont | House for Sale, Photos | Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair. Loons were slowly recolonizing southern New England, as well. Lab results on Squam eggs from the worst years of the decline, 2005 through 2007, showed surprising spikes in several toxic chemicals, including high levels of two “legacy contaminants”: PCBs, which had been banned from manufacturing in 1979, and chlordane, a pesticide banned in 1988. In an Ojibwa creation story, Loon was the very voice of the Creator in spirit form. The Squam Lake Loon Initiative (SLLI) includes an increased monitoring, research, management, and outreach effort in order to achieve the following goals: © Copyright - Loon Preservation Committee. A few minutes later, the big male and the female were swimming placidly side by side, looking for all the world like a couple. Eventually too tired to continue fleeing, the smaller male turned to fight. Dotted with about 30 islands and several unnamed islets, it drains via a channel into Little Squam Lake. Only the bigger male reappeared. Can't say enough about Squam lake. Loons are fish-eating birds that spend the winter off the New England coast and return to New Hampshire’s lakes soon after ice-out. Alice, I am replying to a 3 year old inquiry. Loons spend winters along the saltwater coast and breed on freshwater lakes, absorbing what has accumulated below them in two food chains. The Fourth of July holiday arrives. Researchers around New England had more leads than money, no results that definitively fingered a single culprit, but LPC’s executive director, Harry Vogel, spoke of a shared, sinking sense that their work could be touching the edges of a much bigger crisis. 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