Thursday morning I got to spend a few hours following our little loon family. Best guess is that on 6/24, the chicks were five and six days old. They've already grown noticeably. Both seem active and were eagerly feeding.
Check back regularly. There's another pair of loons with eggs due to hatch as soon as tomorrow. I'll be following both families when I get the chance.
My research suggest that loon chicks in the Upper Valley are fully 18% cuter than other baby loons ;) Easy to believe when you get a look at them.
The parents take turns foraging for the chicks. This pair seems partial to feeding crayfish to the chicks. Loons aren't strong on the concept of 'volume,' many of the crayfish offered are almost chick size.
Our chick has to lean out for the crayfish....
and falls off and swims over for breakfast.
The crayfish didn't appeared to object to being eaten, and managed to get free. The other parent retrieved it and offered it again.
It was a job to get it down, but our chick was up to it!
A few shots of chicks stretching.
The parents are still keeping the chicks very close, and often on the parent's back.
This little one takes a moment to preen. Loons, like other waterfowl, have a gland, called the uropygial gland, that excretes a waterproof oil that the loons spread over their feathers. They have to do this regularly to remain waterproof.
On chicks swimming along with a parent, one tucked under the wing.
When it gets to be nap time, the chicks climb up on a parent's back.
It can be a tough climb up....
Eventually, they get aboard.
Shortly after the babysitting parent took the chicks aboard and got them settled, the other parent returned from foraging with another crayfish for the chicks - waking everyone up again.
After feeding again, the babysitting parent gathered up the chicks, and after a bit, got everyone settled again.