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NestCam Archives

Pacific Loon (AK) — 2010

Pacific Loon

Location: Anchorage, AK

Hosted by: Jean Tam and <a href="">Anchorage Audubon Society</a>

Nest Build. Date: May 12, 2010

First Egg Date: May 20, 2010

Clutch Size: 2

Incubation: May 23, 2010

Hatch Date: Jun 16, 2010

Number of Nestlings: 2

Fledge Date: Jun 16, 2010

Number of Fledglings: 1

Note: 05/17 - Please remember this camera is running on Alaska DST, four hours earlier than Eastern DST.

Photo Highlights (18)

    A Nesting Platform

    May 17, 2010 -
    The placement of this artificial nesting platform has granted us a great opportunity to watch these Pacific Loons.

    Sticking to Water

    May 19, 2010 -
    The Pacific Loon is strictly marine except during its brief three-month breeding season when it nests on freshwater ponds throughout much of the arctic and subarctic tundra and taiga regions.

    The First Egg

    May 21, 2010 -
    The first egg was laid yesterday morning. Typically, Pacific Loons lay two eggs. Incubation normally begins with the laying of the first egg, but it may be delayed until the second egg is laid.

    Getting Moving

    May 24, 2010 -
    Pacific Loons walk extremely awkwardly on land, and cannot take flight from land at all. It requires about 30-50 meters of open water to take flight, flapping and pattering across the surface.


    May 26, 2010 -
    As one of the adults rotates the eggs as they settle back down. This rotation prevents the membranes inside the egg from sticking and helps the chick develop correctly. See the video highlights for a clip.

    A Brilliant Characteristic

    May 28, 2010 -
    Though the Pacific Loon is a striking bird, one of its most notable characteristics is the bright red eyes.

    A Little Help

    Jun 02, 2010 -
    In Japan, loons hunt by concentrating fish into a small area. Japanese fishermen used to exploit this behavior to gather their catch. With such assistance from the loons, the fishermen could earn a year's livelihood in just a few months.

    A Visitor

    Jun 04, 2010 -
    This muskrat was seen visiting the nesting platform. Since muskrats are primarily herbivorous, they pose very little threat to the loon eggs. Check out the video highlights for a clip.

    Male vs. Female

    Jun 07, 2010 -
    Pacific Loons are sexually monomorphic, meaning the males and females look exactly the same. However, our cam host, Jean, says the best way to tell the difference is by behavior. The male is often very alert at the nest while the female tends to sleep.

    A Glow

    Jun 09, 2010 -
    A spider built a web across the camera lens. With the reflection of the sun and water, the web gives a golden glow to the loons' nest.

    The Platform

    Jun 14, 2010 -
    Jean Tam sent us this great image of the artificial nesting platform that the loons are using.

    Two Eggs

    Jun 16, 2010 -
    There are still two eggs in the nest. However, we are getting to the upper edge of the incubation period and they should hatch any time now.

    The First Chick

    Jun 17, 2010 -
    Our gracious camera host sent us this wonderful close-up image of our first loon chick! View the video highlights for a clip.

    Active Young

    Jun 18, 2010 -
    Loon chicks are precocial, meaning they are able to get up and move around after hatching. For the first three weeks, they will follow the adults around very closely.

    One Chick

    Jun 22, 2010 -
    The second chick hatched Thursday, but unfortunately, it left the nest and did not return. The cam host reports that it may have been taken by a Bald Eagle. The remaining chick has been on and off the nest with one of the adults.

    Tucked In

    Jun 23, 2010 -
    Pacific Loons, and many other water birds, often carry their young on their back. You can see the head of a chick sticking out the left side feathers of this adult.


    Jun 25, 2010 -
    Our camera host, Jean Tam, sent us in this great, close-up image of the female loon with the chick, now a week old.

    Swam By

    Jun 28, 2010 -
    Though we have not seen the chick in the nest for a while, we got this image as he swam by briefly. At almost two weeks old, this chick is just barely starting to develop his juvenile plumage.

Video Highlights (4)

Jun 04, 2010 - A Visitor

Open movie

Jun 17, 2010 - The Loon Chick
One of the adults moves off the nest to expose our first chick.

Open movie

Jun 24, 2010 - An Adult With One Chick
One of the adults returns to the nest with a single chick.

Open movie