Tom Syverud reports, “After canoeing, boating and fishing on Lake Owen for 35 years, we saw the resident loons have many successful nests and many failures as well. With climate change looming, severe storms and high water events are becoming more common. Nest flooding from high water, waves from severe storms, or boat wakes cause egg cooling and both cause nest failure. Knowing that floating nesting platforms have been successfully used elsewhere, my wife Gail and I thought it might help on Loon Island, Lake Owen. Last spring we contacted Brian Herrirga USFS and Todd Noss WDNR and volunteered to place a platform on Lake Owen. Approval was quick and the WDNR actually had a platform made by a local Boy Scout troop for use. We put the platform out in early May 2019 and took it out in October of that year. This spring, as soon as the boat landing was open, we put it out again, after a little ‘dressing up’ of the platform.
Just a few facts about the platform, PVC pipes keep the nest floating, bricks hold it in place. The platform has straps with small 2X4 boards attached for the adults and chicks to get on and off the nest. We added the mixed vegetation, soil, sticks and small stones to ‘muck-up’ the platform to make it more natural. By regulation, the platform has to be in no more than 4 feet of water continuous to shore, hence the location. Hopefully, the loons will use the platform, if needed. Finally, there are two critical periods for loons to have a successful nest and raise young to maturity. One is around Memorial Day weekend when they need to stay on the nest to avoid egg cooling, the second is around the 4th of July weekend when the young can’t dive and the adults can’t leave them alone. Approaching too close or scaring loons is never okay, it can be fatal at these times. Enjoy the nighttime call of the wild on one of our northern special lakes.”The Lake Owen Association salutes Tom and Gail Syverud for their initiative and their efforts to help Lake Owen’s loon population.
The Lake Owen Association salutes Tom and Gail Syverud for their initiative and their efforts to help Lake Owen’s loon population.