Loon with perchA few weeks back, I had the pleasure of being invited to tour Charlevoix County’s Thumb Lake (AKA Lake Louise). Residents Sue and Bob Korte, who’d visited my shop a couple times, were determined to help their loons by providing a stable nest site. Fluctuating water levels offered only a hit-or-miss prospect for a successful nesting season–more miss than hit–forcing these loons to switch nesting sites based on current water levels, and frequently having their nests flooded, scavenged, or having to deal with human traffic and disturbance.

So, during an enjoyable pontoon ride, shared with a few other concerned residents (and cookies made by Sue), we narrowed down the future nest raft site to two possibilities: one, an island site that unfortunately gets frequent visits by people, and a shallow reedy area that, in low water conditions, becomes a tenuous island. The island site sits across a narrow channel that can easily be cordoned off with a buoy at each entrance and, being situated offshore, reduces access to scavengers, and eliminates potential flooding. Residents will also be asked to avoid using the island while nesting is in progress.

I became interested in Thumb Lake a few years ago when I presented my film, The Uncommon Loon, to their lake association meeting one Saturday. We had talked about a nesting raft since then, and I’m finally glad to see Thumb Lake getting one. Many folks here share Sue and Bob’s concern for their loons and I’m confident this breeding pair is in good hands.

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About Jeff Lange

Michigan LoonWatch Area Coordinator, LoonCorps Northern Michigan, Wildlife Filmmaker.

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