Floating loon platforms double nest success on Whatshan Reservoir

Photo: iStock

Five floating nesting platforms on Whatshan Reservoir, near Fauqiuer, are proving successful in enhancing Common Loon productivity. Since 2013, the average nesting success has increased from 29% to 61% of pairs effectively hatching young. Productivity has increased from an average of 0.42 to 0.77 chicks per pair.

The platforms are planted with grasses and shrubs to provide cover and nesting habitat, and were installed with FWCP funding by Kingbird Biological Consultants. Shoreline nest success is thought to be low, primarily due to reservoir operations and fluctuating water levels. Using floating platforms eliminates the risk of nest flooding.

In 2018, three of five nests (60%) hatched successfully — all successful nests were on the floating platforms. One nest on a platform and one on the shore failed, with two unhatched eggs observed. The failure is most likely a result of the exceptionally wet spring weather. Unfortunately, one platform went missing in 2016, and another was vandalized and had its vegetation removed in 2018.

The Common Loon is a focal species under our Species of Interest Action Plan. The project is managed by the Province of B.C., through its long-term agreement with the FWCP to deliver annual and ongoing projects.


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