- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2016

MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) - Loon chicks are hatching on lakes around New Hampshire, and that means people need to keep a watchful eye.

Last year, biologists for the Loon Preservation Committee recorded 234 loon chicks hatched, but 26 percent of them did not survive.

Loons are a threatened species in New Hampshire and are protected by state and federal laws from hunting or harassment, including following adults with chicks.

As human activity increases on the lakes during the summer, people are asked to stay at least 150 feet away from adult loons with chicks. If the adult shows any signs of distress such as craning its neck low over the water, thrashing about or vocalizing, they need more space. Newly hatched chicks are small, dark and cannot easily dive.

“It’s a full-time job for two loon parents to raise one or two loon chicks over the course of the summer,” said Harry Vogel, senior biologist and executive director of the committee. “It’s imperative that we give them some space to minimize disturbances and allow them to focus on caring for and feeding their chicks, rather than watching us because we are too close. The best way to observe loons is with a good pair of binoculars. The best way to photograph them is with a long telephoto lens.”

The same cautions apply to loons on nests, as many loon pairs are sitting on eggs that have not yet hatched.

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