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2017 Loon Cam

The Loon Preservation Committee's LIVE loon cam has been following a pair of nesting loons on a lake in central New Hampshire. The estimated hatch date window was July 8'th - July 10'th. At this point, while possible, a hatch is unlikely. The loon pair will continue over-incubating the eggs for a while, hoping for a late hatch, but then will eventually abandon the nest. Once the nest has been abandoned, an LPC biologist will collect the unhatched eggs.

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2017News

Crushed Egg
Thu, Jul 20, 2017

Early yesterday morning, one egg was crushed while the female was on the nest. A while later, the male removed the broken egg from the nest. Crushed eggs during incubation is not that uncommon. It is a possibility we need to investigate any time we determine a nest failure cause.

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Possible Reasons for Inviable Eggs
Mon, Jul 17, 2017

There can be a number of reasons for eggs not hatching. They may never have been fertilized, which could be the result of a physiological problem with one of the pair. Contaminants such as mercury or PCB (yes,PCB is still in our lakes in spite of the fact its use has been restricted for the past 20 or...

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Over-Incubation
Sun, Jul 16, 2017

At this point, the hatch is a full week overdue. The loons are beginning to lose interest in incubating the eggs and the nest is occasionally being left unattended for an hour or so, as shown in this video. For all practical purposes, the chances of a hatch are nil.

This pair overincubated...

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Evening Loon Concert
Wed, Jul 12, 2017

Here is a snippet of last night's evening loon concert. The female is on the nest  and she is listening to tremolos and yodels coming from a distance. The yodels are most likely from her mate (only males yodel). The tremolos are from neighboring loons. Since loons haven't mastered texting yet, these calls are...

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Unattended Eggs
Wed, Jul 05, 2017

The pair has settled into a two shift schedule. Dad takes the day shift and mom takes the night shift. Last night, after a busy fourth of July with a lot of boating activity on the lake, mom was late for her shift and dad had enough and took of in search of her.
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Double Duty
Sat, Jul 01, 2017

Viewers familiar with the first nesting pair we watched this year may recall the quick nest exchanges they had. Often, the incubating loon would jump off the nest as soon as they saw the mate approaching.

Well, this pair seems to be the opposite extreme. The female has a hard time convincing the male to leave the...

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A Sudden Flush
Thu, Jun 29, 2017

This video shows a very sudden flush by the loon sitting on the nest. Normally, we would see a head down/neck extended posture or some other indication of alertness before a loon flushes from a nest. And rather than a wail after leaving the nest, we would hear either a tremolo or a yodel, vocalizations...

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Safe and Sound
Tue, Jun 27, 2017

Viewers who followed the first nesting pair have likely noticed that this pair experiences fewer intrusions and less time off the nest. Much of this has to do with the nest site location. This pair is nesting on an island and the nest is on the side facing the mainland. Being on an island reduces the chance of terrestrial...

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Our New LoonCam Nest
Sun, Jun 25, 2017

We have started live-streaming another loon nest. This video shows a nest exchange. You can see that only one of the loons is banded. The banded loon is the female and we know that she has occupied this territory since 2009. Because the male is unbanded, we can't be sure how long he has...

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Nesting is Done
Tue, Jun 20, 2017

After trying to incubate the egg on the nest for two days, Mom, Dad, and the chick that hatched on June 17 packed up and moved to a brooding area in another location on the pond. We waited for 24 hours to be sure the loons didn't come back to the nest and we...

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Come on, Dad, Chop That Up!
Mon, Jun 19, 2017

Dad tries to feed the chick a fish that is half his size. The chick can't even hold on to it. But don't worry, both parents have been feeding the chick small minnows, bugs, leeches and other acceptable food for a two-day-old chick. Meanwhile, the second egg still shows no sign of pipping.


One Chick in Water, One Egg in Nest
Sun, Jun 18, 2017

The parents have their hands (wings?) full now with a chick to take care of and an egg to incubate. Here we see mom coming back to nest to meet her chick for the first time. This video shows the chick wandering off on its own when it was only...

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Active Chick
Sat, Jun 17, 2017

Seven hours old and the chick is ready to hit the water on its own. But we still have another egg to hatch.


First Chick is Hatched!
Sat, Jun 17, 2017

The chick was rapidly breaking out of its shell between 5 and 6 am this morning. By 7am we were getting our first views of the chick. It will be a busy day today for the parents, protecting the chick until it dries while still incubating the second egg.


A Pip?
Fri, Jun 16, 2017

Ir's hard to be sure but it looks like there might be a pip, a crack in the egg with the membrane showing, This photo is from 4:25 pm, when the female was rolling the eggs. Hatch could be any time now.


Hot Spell
Wed, Jun 14, 2017

The previous three days gave us some uncommonly hot weather for June. Sunday topped out at 94.1 degrees Fahrenheit, Monday hit 95.7, and we just missed an official heat wave when Tuesday maxed out at 1.5 degrees below 90. If you think you were uncomfortable during the hot spell, imagine if you...

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Egg Turning
Fri, Jun 09, 2017

If you've ever raised chickens from eggs, you're aware that egg turning is an important part of the incubation process and it is essential for the proper development of the embryo. Turning the eggs distributes the heat more evenly and prevents the membrane from sticking to the shell. It's the same thing...

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Rain and Nest Maintenance
Wed, Jun 07, 2017

It continues to be a very wet nesting season. The nest site has received about two and a half inches of new precipitation over the past week. Although the dam operator is doing a great job of maintaining a constant water level, the loons are taking no chances. They've managed to build the nest up at least another...

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Eggs and Predators
Wed, Jun 07, 2017

Out of all the loon nest attempts LPC has monitored over the past four decades, about 40% of the nests fail. Out of those that we can determine the reason for nest failure, egg predation is the most common cause. On June 4 a snapping turtle visited the nest and had...

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Nest Duties
Sun, Jun 04, 2017

If you've been watching at the right time, you've seen a nest change and you realize that the male and female share nest duties. This video shows an early morning nest change, just before dawn, with the male relieving the female. This is typical of most loon pairs. Females...

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Hail Storm!
Thu, Jun 01, 2017

Last night we had a severe thunderstorm pass through the area. It included a short period of hail. Local weather watchers reported nickel to quarter sized hail stones and the National Weather Service released this picture of a hail stone from the same storm:
 
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Tremolo Calls
Mon, May 29, 2017

Around 9 am this morning we could hear tremolo calls in the distance. Judging by the changes in volume and possibly some Doppler effect, we can be pretty sure most of the calls were from a single loon flying over the pond and making at least two passes. And some of the calls...

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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 loons started incubating their eggs around June 11, so the expected hatch date is approximately July 8. 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); however, nesting was delayed in some areas this year due to high water. 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. Dusk and dawn are good times to check, but it can happen anytime. Nesting loons face many challenges, from raccoons to flooded nests, with successful hatches at fewer than 60% of all nest attempts.

The female is marked with color bands on her legs. She has been breeding here on this territory since she was originally banded in 2009. 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 12 years old, but most likely 14 years or older! She has yellow and white bands on her left leg and silver and green bands on her right leg. The bands may be visible as the female climbs on and off the nest or turns the eggs. The male is unbanded so all we can say for sure is that he is over four years old. A former male was banded, but he was found dead on a beach in Wareham, Massachusetts in January of 2015. So this current male might be spending his third year on this territory.


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, CamStreamer 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?

Nesting began around June 11, so if the hatch is successful, it should occur around July 8. A few days early or late is normal.

How does the loon cam work?

The camera is mounted to a tree about 15 feet from the nest. An Ethernet cable supplies power and an internet connection to the camera, and then travels over WiFi 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 the New Hampshire Lakes Region.

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. 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 Loon Cam Viewers. The chat will only be active when a moderator is available and when LPC Staff members are online for questions and answers. Since the chat is live, and open to the world, we need to warn you that inappropriate posts may briefly appear, until the moderators have a chance to delete them.

Can you turn the sound up? I can't hear it.

The loon nest is in a heavily populated area. With summer here, lots of people are outside talking, driving motorboats and making other noises. For this reason, the sound will be muted most of the time.

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