The Common Loon is a threatened waterbird species and is the focus of intensive management in New Hampshire. Human impact remains the main reason for such high mortality, especially among the chicks. The largest single source of human-caused chick mortality is from collisions with fast-moving boats and personal watercraft. Other causes of loon bird mortality include abandonment of nests when loons are approached too closely, and nest flooding or swamping when powerboat wakes either wash the eggs out of nests or chill the eggs, making them inviable.
The Loon Preservation Committee needed buoy products that were lightweight, easy to handle and readily available to the small, one or two people teams who would be installing them. Used to mark no-wake boundaries and cautionary perimeters, the teams deploy the buoys to limit human interference with nesting loons and chick nursery sites.
The highly visible SL-B576 10-inch Sealite Buoys with custom signage provide visual cautionary marking to passing boaters and personal watercraft riders. The custom signage wraps are affixed seasonally to the buoys to protect nesting pairs, eggs, and chicks and can be removed once the danger to the next loon generation has passed.
By providing a marked cautionary zone, the nesting areas are minimally impacted, ensuring a better success rate for this most vulnerable stage of the loon’s life cycle.
Installing cautionary boundaries with relevant marks is important for the future of New Hampshire’s Common Loon. It is one way the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) has helped the rebound of loon populations throughout local lakes for over 40 years.
It is one of the reasons why LPC is an internationally recognized leader in the techniques used to successfully manage Loon populations.
Through the Loon Preservation Committee’s habitat management efforts, which include establishing buffer zones with signs and ropelines around vulnerable nest sites and nursery areas, the threatened loon population declines have been reversed in New Hampshire lakes. Last year, over half of loon chicks hatched in New Hampshire came from nest sites that were protected with floating signs and/or ropelines.
The Sealite buoys are perfect for use on big, busy lakes, stated Caroline Hughes, Field Program Coordinator for The Loon Preservation Committee. They are much easier to handle and much less likely to flip over than any other buoy we’ve ever used. The reflective exterior wrap and custom signage make the buoys highly visible in all weather conditions to passing boaters, making them ideal for our specific needs.
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