Floating nesting platforms in Cape Breton lake aim to save the common loon
Published Wednesday, June 14, 2017 11:58AM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 14, 2017 11:59AM ADT
Floating islands complete with all the amenities of land are being launched in some Cape Breton bodies of water in an effort to help save the common loon.
The nesting platforms are made of four-inch PVC pipes, grass sods, and water-resistant foam wrapped in burlap bags, which help them float. A little hay is added for comfort and shrubs are planted to ensure the loons won’t go hungry.
“It’s pretty much a basic floating island with natural vegetation and habitat, which replicates what they would have on shore,” explains Jeff McNeil, director of the Port Morien Wildlife Association.
“It’s the Holiday Inn for the loons here in Sand Lake,” says Stan Peach of the Port Morien Wildlife Association.
Organizers hope loons who are having trouble nesting on land will swim out to the floating platforms and settle in.
“We’re not seeing new chicks being born, so we’re hoping that with some of our help, we can get them nesting again,” says Peach.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason as to why loons are laying fewer eggs, but it’s hoped the nesting platforms will at least keep the birds safe from predators and human contact.
Two platforms have been built and launched in Sand Lake. It’s expected more platforms will be launched in as many as a dozen bodies of water across the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“If the spinoffs are as beneficial as we hope, then we’ve done our part for conservation and management,” says McNeil.
Organizers hope 12 to 15 islands will be built in total. However, it’s too late in the season for loons to nest, so this year’s efforts are a trial run, with hopes that the birds will start flocking to the platforms next spring.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore