By Maggie Gaiero, Program Intern
From the fall of 2004 to the spring of 2005, 44% of the loon population on Squam Lakes was lost. Out of the 16 pairs that flew south in 2004, only 9 pairs returned to lay eggs in 2005. More recently in 2014 there were 12 pairs of loons creating homes on the beautiful shores of Squam, and this summer 13 pairs were spotted. What caused such a dramatic drop from 2004 to 2005? Loons face many stresses in the wild even here at Squam. In 2001 with the reopening of the public boat launch, it was noted that human recreational use of the lake went up. Such acts can disturb nesting loons. Other stresses such as lead fishing tackle, extreme temperatures, and a high number of contaminants also have a negative impact on loons.
Here in New Hampshire the Common Loon is considered a threatened species. What exactly does this mean? A threatened species is characterized by a dramatic change in population – based on how many individuals are able to breed and the number of offspring that survive. The Loon is characterized as critical, meaning it is unable to sustain its population by itself in the wild in New Hampshire.
Learn more about our Loon Cruises.