• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Nesting loons wanted at Bass Lake

In Oro-Medonte
Jun 13th, 2010

By Joanne Saunders Simcoe.com March 16 2010
Many of us have fond memories of the call of loons echoing across our waterways.
Now, it seems, that haunting sound, so definitive of the Canadian wild, is seldom heard unless one travels much further north.
Wasaga Beach resident David Featherstone, in his job with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA), has been assisting residents of Bass Lake to construct a loon-nesting platform with the hope of encouraging visiting loons to nest there.
“Placing loon nesting platforms in the river is probably not an option due to high spring flows which could dislodge the platform and send it downstream where it could get into boating lanes,” said Featherstone, who is manager of watershed monitoring for the NVCA.
“Rivers aren’t typical loon habitat and the Nottawasaga may be too turbid at times for loons to forage effectively,” he added. “Jack’s Lake might be a possibility. Marl Lake is another possibility though it can get a little murky in the summer.”
The floating platform, which is framed by cedar logs and underlined with wire mesh, is filled with vegetation including grass, plant seeds and cattails, to mimic loon-nesting habitat.
Long time Bass Lake resident Erin Evans was quoted in a press release saying, “I grew up on this lake hearing the loons. We want today’s youth to be able to hear the loons too.”     
Evans, along with Janet Milligan, first pitched the “loon lodge” idea to their ratepayers association three years ago and it was installed early this month with the assistance of the NVCA. 
“Loons prefer to nest in sheltered coves and bays or along flat shorelines,” says Featherstone.
Although loons have previously been sighted on Bass Lake, they do not currently nest there. They likely nest on Lake Simcoe and travel to Bass Lake to feed.
While there is no guarantee that loons will find and use the platform, the structure will provide habitat for other lake species, including turtles that can bask on it and fish that can seek cover underneath it.
“When you have loons (and other wildlife) on the lake, it really makes you feel like you have a healthy environment that you are living in,” says Connie Simo, Bass Lake Ratepayers Association president. “We want to encourage that.”
The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is a public agency dedicated to the preservation of a healthy environment through specialized programs to protect, conserve and enhance our water, wetlands, forests and lands.
For more information about the loon platform please e-mail Dave Featherstone at
dfeatherstone@nvca.on.ca or call him at (705) 424-1479, ext. 242.

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