Vermont has more loons! And that’s bad and good. First, the political sort has taken over the Green Mountain State and leaned it hard left. Even the Republican Governor is a Democrat. Spending up, rights down. What’s the Good news? Loons (as in the waterfowl) are doing better.
The Green Mountain State recorded 101 nesting pairs, which is the highest number on record since officials began keeping count in 1978.
“Awareness,” said Eric Hanson, loon biologist at Norwich-based Vermont Center for Ecostudies, when asked to explain the increase. “We have so many people who just know a little bit about loons, and that respect has really paid off in dividends.”
Of the nesting pairs, 75 produced chicks, for a total of 115 born this year.
Vermont would be wise to elect the bird (Loons) instead of the Democrat (loons), but the beginning of any 12-step program begins with admitting there is a problem. I’m not holding out hope for our Twin State neighbor.
New Hampshire, on the other hand, still has hope. We have an opportunity to address our own Loon problem (the political one) in 2020. But what about the waterfowl?
In New Hampshire, a record-high 313 breeding pairs were counted, said John Cooley, senior biologist at the Loon Preservation Committee. Of those breeding pairs, 221 created nests and 193 chicks hatched. As of August, 148 of those chicks survived.
“That’s consistent with the long-term, incremental slow process of New Hampshire’s loon progress,” Cooley said.
However, the number of loon deaths rose. The nonprofit recorded 27 adult loon deaths in 2019, exceeding the average of 17 per year over the last decade. The highest previous loon death toll was 25 in a year.
If the population is growing, then we should expect more deaths annually. But twenty-seven seems high if the average is 17.
Causes include lead-tackle, avian malaria that is reported as new to the species in Vermont and New Hampshire, and, “we saw a slight increase in cases where a rival loon is the source of mortality.”
That’s to be expected if the population is increasing. Maybe the loons in the legislature can pass some No beak zone laws or special red-flag rules for waterfowl.
It’s a meaningful comparison because the Loons (either sort) most likely to resort to violence will ignore the law leaving everyone else disarmed and at risk.
But on the bright side, we’ve got more Loons (the waterfowl) despite decades of scaremongering over our first-world climate abuses.
Don’t worry; someone will find a way to spin the Loon on Loon violence as the fault of your addiction to cheap, abundant energy because that’s what loons do.
Image: NH Audobon Society