Loons on Lake Sunapee

 Photo by D. Blohm

 Photo by D. Blohm

For the first time in over 40 years a pair of loons were able to successfully nest on Lake Sunapee and produce two chicks in the 2015 season. In order to assist and encourage loons to nest, two floating nests were constructed and have been deployed in Lake Sunapee for several years. The chicks, named Soo and Nipi, were born in one of the floating nests.

Common Loon Behavior

Loons can be very vocal , having four distinct calls, and will sometimes flap their wings or feet as a normal part of their preening and bathing. However, a loon who has raised its forehead feathers, giving it a “squared-off” appearance, usually indicates it is nervous. Other signs that a loon thinks you have come too close are: the loon is splashing across the water in a "penguin dance", vocalizing at you with a "tremolo", or is lying low with its head down. If you see any of these signs, give it more space! 

Respect Loons and Other Wildlife

  • Use non-lead fishing tackle
  • Keep your distance especially in the spring nesting season
  • Retrieve fishing lines and other human debris that can choke, suffocate and starve wildlife
  • If loon or other animal looks to be in distress DO NOT approach and follow steps below.

Reporting Possible “Loon-in-Distress”

Healthy preening behavior can make a loon appear injured or tangled.  Click here to see video and photos of a loon preening. If a loon has beached itself on shore or does have fishing line visible on it then call the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) (603) 476-5666 (Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Monday-Saturday year round, and summer Sundays - July until Columbus Day) Voice or email (field@loon.org) messages to LPC are checked daily.

If you do not receive an immediate response from LPC or if animal in distress is not a loon then contact NH Fish &Game (603) 271-3361.

Be prepared to report the location of the loon, and, if possible, send a photo to the responding field staff or volunteers. Thank you for your help and concern in responding to sick and injured loons!    

Loon look-alikes

Some people may confuse other water birds with loons. Click here to link to LPC's "Loons and Other Waterbirds: How Do You Tell Them Apart?" web page. 

Get The Lead Out

According to the Loon Preservation Committee, lead fishing sinkers and jigs caused nearly half (49%) of documented NH adult loon mortality between 1989 and 2011. NH recently signed a law, (SB 89) effective June 1, 2016, that bans the sale and freshwater use of lead sinkers and lead jigs weighing one ounce or less. Lead is toxic to wildlife and humans and is no longer allowed in paint, water lines and gasoline. However, it is still allowed to be used in some states for fishing tackle and ammunition. Non-lead tackle is available in a wide variety of styles and sizes to meet the needs of anglers.

For more information about loons visit the Loon Preservation Committee.