Common Loons (Gavia Immer) are integral to our lakes waterscape and who hasn’t been thrilled by their haunting trills, particularly at sunrise or evening twilight?
“Binocular range” is considered a safe distance for viewing and enjoying these colorful waterfowl. If a Loon is observed flapping its wings wildly and dancing across the water, you’re too close. Any such disturbance can cause an adult bird to desert its nest, resulting in a loss of its young.
Lake users should also be aware that it’s against state and federal laws to bother or harass Loons or other protected wildlife.
These simple procedures should be observed when sharing the lake with Loons:
* When boating, protect Loons and their chicks by not chasing them.
* Always steer away from Loon family flocks.
* If you suspect Loons are nesting in an area, leave them alone.
Ducks, Swans and Geese
Though cute and irresistible, these waterfowl play a key role in the life cycle of any parasite that causes “swimmer’s itch.”
By discouraging unnaturally large waterfowl populations in our lakes, the occurrence of this troublesome skin irritation can be reduced. (See Cercariae Cycle Diagram.)
As inhabitants of our lake community, these waterfowl feed on plants and other aquatic organisms. In turn, they eat the plants and remove a portion of the plants’ nutrients. When excreted, these nutrients support new plant growth. This is a natural cycle. However, when well-intentioned individuals feed waterfowl their numbers increase, and additional nutrients enter our lakes. This process, in turn, increases the swimmer’s itch problem.