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June 6, 2014

Loons starting to nest in New Hampshire

Spring ritual begins in New Hampshire with nesting loons

They’re just as much a part of New Hampshire lore as granite and the Old Man of the Mountain.

Those lucky enough to see a loon or hear its distinctive call on any one of the state’s approximately 350 lakes, including Canobie Lake, consider it a treat.

That’s why loons are one of “603 Reasons” readers say New Hampshire is special.

As summer draws near, loons have started nesting throughout the state. Members of the nonprofit Loan Preservation Committee hope to see their numbers increase after seeing a decline last year, executive director Harry Vogel said.

“It’s a big concern,” Vogel said. “It’s a challenge to maintain the reproductive success that is needed.”

The committee announced yesterday that 41 pairs of nesting loons have been spotted throughout New Hampshire. The first pair was seen May 12 on Bolster Pond in Sullivan.

But those numbers don’t include three loons, including a pair, that make their home on Canobie Lake in Salem and Windham, according to William Schroeder, president of the Canobie Lake Protective Association.

The three have lived on the lake since last year, Schroeder said. There’s usually only a single pair that nests there, he said

This pair has not nested yet, he said.

The association has placed a special raft about 200 feet from shore to encourage the loons to build their nest on it, Schroeder said.

Nesting rafts, which are usually covered, provide protection for the eggs and baby loons, Vogel said. They especially help shield the babies from birds of prey, he said.

While loons are known to live on Canobie Lake, they are not commonly found in the area because it’s widely developed, Vogel said.

“It’s a fairly built-up area and loons are facing some challenges in that strip of Southern New Hampshire,” he said.

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