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Make Way For Loon Chicks While Boating In N.H. This Summer

Jennifer Esten
Loon Preservation Committee
A loon chick rides on one parent's back while the other parent searches for fish near a speedboat.

Watch out for loon chicks if you head out on a boat in New Hampshire in the coming weeks.

It's nesting and hatching season for the loons, a protected species, in lakes and fresh waters north and south of the White Mountains. The Loon Preservation Committee, based in Moultonborough, says boat traffic – even non-motorized vessels like kayaks – can put them at risk.

The nonprofit says adult loons can quickly dive underwater to get out of the way of an oncoming vessel. But baby loons are more buoyant and thus, more vulnerable. Most will hatch in the next few weeks.

Credit Jon Waage / Loon Preservation Committee
Loon Preservation Committee
A newly hatched loon chick naps on its parent's back.

Boats can also distract loon parents and pose a threat to chicks. And vessels that don't keep their distance can cause loons to abandon a nest entirely.

The organization says people should stay 150 feet away from loons while in any kind of boat.

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They're also reminding anglers to protect loons from lead poisoning. Folks can swap their lead bait and tackle in exchange for gift certificates at several shops in the Lakes Region.

It's illegal under federal and state law to harass or hunt loons. The state considers them a threatened species.

The Loon Preservation Committee runs a livestream showing what some nesting New Hampshire loons are up to each season. You can view the camera feeds at loon.org.

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