Friday, September 9, 2011

A Happy Ending

Back in early June of this year, I penned a rather tragic post about the fate of the loons' nest at work. Back in May, Andy and another volunteer buoyed an artificial loon nesting platform constructed of PVC pipe, mud, and grass clippings out in the bay in front of the museum. Within days, a loon couple had moved in and laid two egs. But when eagles raided the nest on day 12 of the eggs' incubation (loon eggs are incubated 27-30 days before hatching) and destroyed the eggs, it was just life in the North Woods, I figured.

For a couple weeks, the loon couple made infrequent visits back to the nest. When they visited, they'd both climb onto the nest, cooing softly at each other before slipping off the nest and disappearing up the lake again.

But one morning, I found a loon sitting on the nest and the loon didn't move. 


Fast forward 27 days . .  . 

That's right, not one but two loon chicks hatched as part of the second nesting!The first chick appeared on my brother Peter's birthday, so I named that guy "Peat." When the second little one popped out a day later, it was christened "Repeat."

Because the chicks hatched later in the season, we were a little worried they wouldn't have the time to figure out the big wild world and learn to fly before it was time to head south in the autumn. A massive snapping turtle also lurked in the waters near the nest, not to mention all the large fish in the lake who might be searching for a little loon appetizer. Would both chicks make it?

The answer is a resounding: YES! Both chicks are alive and well and growing fast. They've nearly shed their brown coats (morphing into the immature silver coat that they'll have for an extended period of time) and are probably testing out their flying chops. They still have plenty of difficulties ahead, especially when they head south (most likely to the oily Gulf of Mexico) in the fall, where they'll stay for the next few years. We won't know if our loon twins will ever return, but there's some peace (and a bit of pride) in knowing we helped two loons get their start.

Mother Nature may not always be nice, but she also happens to have a redemptive streak.

8 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I just got shivers! That is awesome! Wow, what an amazing feat. I sure hope they make it.

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  2. Mother Nature sure is amazing! How fun to be able to watch this. We've had ducks make nests in our yard but each year some critter got to the eggs. Have a fantastic weekend - the weather is looking good!

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  3. yay!! i'm happy to hear two little fuzzlings survived. you go, loon mom.

    (btw, i have a brother pete, too!)

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  4. that IS a happy ending! I've never seen a loon baby before, but I'd love to!

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  5. Oh, I loved this story!! I was a little nervous when I started reading...I am very sensitive to animal stories. I'm glad this one had a happy ending!

    http://thinkinginmyheadma.blogspot.com

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  6. That is super fun! It would certainly be pretty awesome watching that in action.

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  7. Such a lovely story! Happy endings in nature are always so precious!

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  8. Wonderful to hear this great outcome for the loons. We can learn something about persistence from them!

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