the discovery that Little Sebago remains home to a female loon first captured in 1997, who on August 13, 2018 was recaptured. Despite her colored band being very faded, the metal USFWS band did still contain an identifiable inscription number, allowing us to confirm a positive identification. This female was with chick in 1997 when first captured and banded, which places her at approximately 26 years old today. She is one of the oldest known breeding common loons. From historical record, we also know that she has successfully bred with at least 3 different males in her lifetime on Little Sebago. In the research world – these are most significant findings. The most exciting adventure of my summer was participating in the capture and re-banding of the “Old Lady of Little Sebago”. We are pictured below – me holding her while biologists take blood and feather samples and affix new identification bands.

their reproductive success we are able to see that Little Sebago continues to provide that ideal habitat. Here on Little Sebago, evidence also supports the loon’s ability to acclimate to population density, as well, and suggests that with forethought and understanding both people and loons can adapt and live together. The interest and good practices of our lake members and guests contribute greatly to a lake that the loons can share with us. Observing headway speeds (especially near nest sites/islands), protecting nesting pairs by complying with “No Trespass” and/or “Loon Sanctuary” marked sites, and keeping speeds down while watching for swimming loons (especially during the period when new chicks are emerging – mid June to early August), are the simple things that we all can do to keep our loons safe. Loons are one of many species that rely on fish as the dominant part of their diet. These birds are important bioindicators because of their obvious connection to aquatic ecosystems and their dependence on a clean environment. Lakes troubled with an abundance of lead toxicity from ingestion of lead fishing tackle, environmental mercury pollution and acid deposition, and cyanobacteria outbreaks, contribute to poor reproductive success. A critical component is monitoring to determine the cause of nest failure or chick loss. Standardized survey methods are used to collect data about the number of territorial pairs, nesting pairs, location of nests, chicks hatched, and chicks surviving. LSLA is working toward implementing a Loon Conservation Monitoring Program to debut in 2019. A grant application has been submitted and results expected in May, giving us just enough time to kick off our program June 1. If you are a Facebook user you will find updates at “Little Sebago Loon Watch” . You can also find news at www.littlesebagolakeassociation.com . Looking forward to seeing you and our feathered friends back on the lake soon.

Photo taken August 2018 – Hunger Bay But the story doesn’t end here. Little Sebago Lake Association is committed to continuing loon conservation efforts. The ideal loon habitat is clean, clear lakes, dotted with uninhabited islands and protected coves. Our lake exemplifies that ideal, and in return the loon acts as sentinel of Little Sebago lake water quality. By monitoring our loon population, and especially

Sharon Young Loon Committee


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