July 24, 2006
Contact: Bruce Connery
, (207) 288-8726
Contact: David Manski
, (207) 288-8720
Two adult loons that established a nesting territory on Upper Hadlock Pond in May have failed in their nesting attempt for 2006, Superintendent Sheridan Steele announced today. These birds were one pair of several pairs found on lakes or ponds in Acadia National Park and on Mount Desert Island (MDI). The pair at Upper Hadlock Pond had selected a nesting site close to the recently improved middle section of the Hadlock Trail.
To protect the nesting birds from inadvertent disturbance or harassment, a fifty foot buffer from the shore inland along the eastern half of the pond had been closed to all visitor and operational activities. The closure included the recently improved middle section of the Hadlock Trail that closely parallels the eastern shoreline of the pond. The trail and closed shoreline buffer area were clearly marked with signs and included a map of the closure area. The closure would have stayed in place until the chicks were old enough to be independent of the nesting site and protective eastern shoreline.
Biologists from Biodiversity Research Incorporated and the park staff have been observing other nesting loons in the park and on the island to track their nesting success and better understand the threats facing loons. Nesting success (i.e., chick survival) for loons on Mount Desert Island has been historically poor and information about the causes for the poor productivity and nesting failures is needed to implement a long term management program.
Research has shown that loons are particularly vulnerable to human disturbance during the nesting season. The disturbance can be measured in the expenditure of additional energy by the adults, displaced attention to the eggs or chicks, increased opportunities for predators, and unfavorable nesting conditions. Continued disturbances can lead to the loss of an egg or chick or a complete nest failure, which further threatens the stability of the population in Maine.
Additional information is available at park headquarters.