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Cries in the Night
Banding loons in the Adirondacks
By Eileen Stegemann
July 21st: 8:30 p.m. till midnight
The cries from the loon chick were hard to ignore. Loud wails let everyone know its unease at being restrained, and its calls were getting its sibling-who was in my daughter's arms-upset. I helped my daughter stroke the baby loon's head and back of its neck in the manner we were instructed, and amazingly the loon calmed right down.
My husband had it much harder: he was holding a powerful adult loon that would alternate between being calm and frantically trying to get away. The towel over its eyes helped relax it, but an adult loon is a big, strong bird and seeing Bob struggle at times made me glad I wasn't holding it. The bird's 5″ long, dagger-like bill looked like it could inflict some major damage if it hit its intended mark-in this case, anyone who was near-and I realized how important it was to make sure the loon was properly restrained.
We were at the boat launch site on Little Clear Lake, assisting in a loon banding project designed to assess the health and size of the Adirondack loon population. Having canoed and camped in the Adirondacks for more than 30 years, I am fascinated with loons and so my family and I jumped at the chance to partake in this project.
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