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2017 Loon Cam


The Loon Preservation Committee's LIVE loon cam is following a pair of nesting loons on a lake in central New Hampshire.

2017 News

Leg Bands
Fri, May 26, 2017

You may notice, especially when they are turning the eggs or switching nest duties, that these loons have colored bands on their legs. LPC has been banding loons for the past 25 years. Every banded loon has a unique color combination, usually consisting of two bands on each leg. Here, the female has orange and...

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Two Eggs!
Wed, May 24, 2017

The second egg was laid yesterday (May 23) between 2:30 and 2:35 pm. That's about sixty hours after the first egg. Loons typically lay a two egg clutch with a day or so between eggs. It is believed that the separation in time increases the chances of...

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So What About Those Black Flies?
Mon, May 22, 2017

Most people reading this will probably agree that loons are special. However, when it comes to black flies, you may not realize just how special loons are. The Common Loon is decidedly uncommon because it purportedly shares the distinction of having the most host-specific blood-sucking parasite known to science.

Simulium annulus is...

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Turtles and Other Nest Visitors
Fri, May 19, 2017

Some viewers have have been concerned that turtles have been using the empty nest as a basking platform. Almost all of these turtles are painted turtles; They rarely get more than ten inches in length, they are plant eaters, and they are no threat to the loons or the nest. In fact, they often simultaneously share a...

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More Nest Building
Thu, May 18, 2017

After a few soggy days of the loons paying little attention to the nest area, they are now back on a regular basis. In this videohttps://youtu.be/csId0j2_rLU, we see one of the pair back on the primary nest, giving it a test fit and adding more material.

Notice the black flies...

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More Rain, More Challenges
Mon, May 15, 2017

1.8 inches of rain over the past 36 hours and the water level is creeping back up. The nest is on the verge of flooding and it's still raining. This nest is on a small pond with a small watershed, so there is a good chance that the water level will begin to drop soon...

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More Mating
Sun, May 14, 2017

The loon pair is definitely getting serious now that the nest is exposed above the water and ready for use. This video and this video show copulation and were both recorded in the past 24 hours. The loons are spending a lot of time around the nest. Eggs could be laid any time in the next few days. 


Loon Vocalizations
Sat, May 13, 2017

This video clip is a great example of the complexity of loon vocalizations. We normally think of loons as having four basic calls and you can listen to them here. But anyone who has had the good fortune to study loons in the field over an extended period of time is...

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The Perfect Loon Nest Site
Thu, May 11, 2017

The water level has dropped, the primary nest is exposed and ready, and we should be seeing some serious nesting activity soon. Some viewers have been asking why the loons prefer this particular spot, so this is a good time to discuss loon nest site selection.

Although loons are excellent divers and competent...

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The Loons Start Building a Second Nest
Tue, May 09, 2017

Close to two inches of rain over the past week has slowed down the loons' progress. In this video, which shows three clips, the loons are first seen peering at the primary nest, which is completely submerged. One of them makes a few futile attempts at adding material to build up the nest. They then...

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Anxious Loons and Water Level Fluctuation
Mon, May 08, 2017

The loons are anxious to get started. By May 2nd the water level had dropped enough to expose the nest and the next day the loons were recorded copulating on the nest. It only takes two or three days after successful copulation before eggs are laid but it usually requires numerous tries, up...

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The Loons are Getting Ready
Sun, Apr 30, 2017

So much to talk about in one clip!

First, we see the male pulling up pieces of vegetation from the water and tossing them around. This is classic nest site selection behavior. In this case, we know that the camera is focused on the traditional nest site for this pair, so...

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The Nesting Pair

The first egg was laid in the very early morning hours of May 21 and the second egg was laid nearly 60 hours later on May 23.   If all goes well, we expect to see the first chick around June 17.  The peak of nest initiation in New Hampshire usually occurs around the first week of June (see About Loon's Family and Social Life for more information). The incubation duties are shared between both loons, and you may see a nest switch if you happen to be watching at the right time. Nesting loons face many challenges, from raccoons to flooded nests, with successful hatches at fewer than 60% of all nest attempts.

Both adult loons are marked with color bands on their legs. The female loon of this pair has been breeding here on this pond since she was originally banded in 1998. Since the earliest known breeding age for loons is 4 years and the average age at first breeding in New Hampshire is 6 years, she is at least 23 years old, but most likely 25 years or older! She has an orange band on her left leg and blue and silver bands on her right leg. The male loon was banded for the first time in 2014. He has red and green bands on his left leg and white and silver bands on his right leg. The bands may be visible as the loons climb on and off the nest or turn their eggs.

The Camera Project

The live video image on this page comes from a high-definition Axis P5635-E MK II pan-tilt-zoom camera with night-time infrared illumination. Conventional power and Internet service are supplied from a nearby residence. A single video stream is fed to YouTube, which can support hundreds of simultaneous viewers.  A seven day archive lets us replay choice moments and publish them on the LPC YouTube Channel.  The webcam is funded through donations to the Loon Preservation Committee's Loon Recovery Plan.  Please click here to contribute to these efforts.

Acknowledgements

Funding for the loon cam project is made possible by LPC's Loon Recovery Plan.  Technical expertise and support is provided by Bill Gassman (www.linkedin.com/in/billgassman). Streaming and archiving services in 2017 are provided by YouTube and AngelCam.  The camera installation would not have been possible without the generous permission of an anonymous property owner. 

Loon Cam FAQ

When will the eggs hatch?

The eggs were laid on May 21'nd and May 23'rd.  Incubation normally takes 28 days, so if the hatch is successful, it should occur around June 18'th.  A few days early or late is normal.

How does the loon cam work?

The camera is mounted to a wooden post that is driven into the bottom of the pond.  An Ethernet cable supplies power and an internet connection to the camera, and runs underwater to a residence, where the router and cable internet connection are located.  A single video stream runs 24x7, over a 10 megabit per second internet service to YouTube Live.  With this design, hundreds can view the video feed at the same time, and the stream resolution is converted to match the viewer's internet connection speed.  We also employ a 7 day archive service and can make a video clip of interesting events. 

Can I see the archived videos

The YouTube player is configured so that you can replay up to several hours of the video stream.  This is useful if you want to watch a nest switch or egg turning.  Edited video clips from the archive are occasionally published on the Loon Preservation Committee YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/loonorgnh.  Let us know if you see something interesting that we've missed.  The archive goes back seven days.

Is there a Twitter hash tag to alert people to special events

Yes.  We are experimenting with Twitter again this year and encourage loon cam viewers to Tweet special events that they see on the video feed to the #LoonCam hashtag.  Our Twitter name is @lpc_nh.

Where is the loon cam located?

For privacy of the loons and the gracious people that allow placement of the looncam, the location is unidentified.  It is in New Hampshire, within an hour's drive of The Loon Center. 

Can I donate to the operation of the loon cam?

Yes!  Please use the donation button on the loon cam page and select the "Loon Cam" button.  We upgraded the camera this year at a cost of over $2000 and will spend another $600 to operate the LoonCam in 2017.  Thank you for your support! 

How do I control the view?

With the change over to the YouTube service, we no longer offer viewer control of the camera.  The camera is programmed to periodically rotate through the preset scenes.  At times, the LPC staff may take control of the camera and follow interesting events. 

Can I make the picture bigger

Yes, use the YouTube full-screen icon, which shows when you touch or mouse over the bottom of the picture.  You can also open up the stream on YouTube.  On the YouTube page, there is a chat feature, where you can have a discussion with other LoonCam Viewers.  The LPC staff will chime in when they have a chance and not in the field.

Can you turn the sound up?  I can barely hear it.

The camera's microphone is very sensitive and is set as low as possible, to provide some natural sounds while protecting neighbor's privacy.  At times, the microphone will be muted. 

Why is the picture jerky

With the switch over to YouTube, the picture should have less jitter than the service we previously used.  If you are on a slow internet connection, the reduced resolution will make the picture less sharp.  When the wind is blowing and it is raining, there still may be some jitter in the picture, because our bandwidth from the camera to YouTube is still limited.  

Who do I contact if I have a problem or question?

For technical questions or problems, send email to looncam@loon.org 

For other questions, contact volunteers@loon.org


See 2016 Loon Cam Highlights and Info