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It's nesting season for loons, people asked to give the endangered birds space

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MOULTONBOROUGH, New Hampshire — It's nesting season for loons, and the Loon Preservation Committee in New Hampshire is asking people to give them some space.

Members recorded the first pair of nesting loons this year on Bolster Pond in Sullivan on May 13. Since then, more than 50 loon pairs have started to incubate eggs, with many more expected to start in the next week or two.

The peak time for nesting is usually in early June, followed by a four-week incubation period. The peak hatching of loon chicks generally happens around the Fourth of July. Loons are vulnerable to disturbance as human activities on the lakes increase.

It's recommended that people stay back at least 150 feet from a nesting loon if the endangered bird shows signs of distress, such as craning its neck low over a nest.

Last year, biologists for the committee recorded 208 pairs of nesting loons, an increase of 28 pairs from the previous year. Of the 208 pairs, half were protected by signs and ropelines, and over half of the chicks hatched came from these protected nest sites.

The biologist said even with this level of management, they recorded 100 failed nests, many of them due to human disturbance, predation and water-level fluctuations.

Loons are threatened in New Hampshire and protected federally.

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