Results of Monitoring of Nesting Loons on Madge Lake in 2012

Report of The Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association (YFBTA)

Article:  Rob Wilson

The photo to the right is of a juvenile loon.

Juveniles look quite different from their parents.

An interesting fact is that the adults begin their migration without the juveniles.  The juveniles remain behind, feeding themselves and awaiting the development of their flight feathers at which point they must achieve their first migration without the assistance of their parents.
Photo: Rob Wilson

The monitoring of Common Loons attempting to nest on Madge Lake did not occur, this past summer, to the level of previous years.  This was due to a number of factors not the least of which was the high water levels at Madge. Surveyors noted that a number of locations which have historically been utilized as nesting sites were under water.  Readers are reminded that loons are ungainly on land (indeed, unable to get themselves airborne from land).  The females lay their eggs within a few feet of the shoreline.

It was difficult to find folks to assist with observing and counting at the critical times (late June,  mid July and late August) and fewer folks submitted observations compared to previous years. 

Some good news is the fact that some folks were busy observing and that some data was collected. 

Our best guess is that eight chicks were produced and that six juveniles survived (the usual number is seven).  Hopefully these juveniles also survived their first migration.  

Another bit of good news is strong interest being taken on the part of The Madge Lake Cabin Owners’ Association.  I have been in contact with some of the association’s executive, the Hacks, and tentative plans are in place to have enhanced monitoring and reporting next summer.  This is with an assumption that The Canadian Lakes Loon Survey (CLLS) will be adopted in 2013.  Participation in this federal program of Bird Studies Canada (BSC) has been supported and funded by The Yellowhead Flyway Bird Trail Association (YFBTA) (website each year since 2005.  I am hopeful that the monitoring, recording and reporting of loon nesting activity on Madge will continue in 2013. 


YFBTA wishes to thank the following folks for assisting with data collection in 2012:

 Doug Welyk and family

Ken Cottenie and family

Rob Wilson

Doug and Barb Elsasser

Bob and Margaret Graham

Patti Hack (cabin owners)

If you would like to assist or would like to become involved in 2013, please contact me:

Rob Wilson (phone:  744 – 8140 or email:

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