A wildlife association in Cape Breton is hoping to boost the numbers of loons in the province by supplying floating nesting platforms for the aquatic birds.
The Port Morien Wildlife Association is building and distributing the platforms to give the loons a better chance of successfully raising chicks.
Although the birds are not an endangered species, a recent study found Nova Scotia has fewer loons than elsewhere in eastern Canada.
Danielle Crosby, project coordinator for the association’s Loon Platform Project, says those numbers match what the group has been hearing.
“All the people that have been contacting us who have seen loons in their lakes for many, many years have been telling us that they have not been seeing chicks,” she said.
“We have found or heard about lakes where loons have not had chicks for the last three years.”
Crosby blames development encroaching on nesting areas, higher levels of mercury in the water, lead poisoning, predators and fluctuating water levels that can threatening shoreline nests,
Victoria Aucoin is one of the people who contacted the wildlife association with concerns about fewer numbers of loon chicks. A widow in her 80s, she says she loves watching and listening to a pair of loons who nest on Sydney River.
“There isn’t anything more lamenting and beautiful.”
The loons have struggled with raising their chicks to adulthood in recent years, Aucoin said.
“They always perch at the end of the little Island on Sydney River and they have a family,” she said. “But we also have an eagle in the area so the eagle always got the babies.”
Aucoin is now involved in the loon platform project and has a floating nest…