Loon Nesting Program

Since 1992, we have been practicing loon preservation by constructing artificial nesting platforms. Loons prefer to nest on islands to distance themselves from predators such as raccoons. We belong to the Michigan Loon Preservation Association and you may consider joining also. They provide valuable loon information.

Our committee is active maintaining floating loon nests that are set after the ice melts and are usually removed by late July. The nesting season may be April 30 through July 6. Since loons may abandon the nest if bothered by others, please keep your distance from the nests. After hatching, the chicks are weak and vulnerable to many dangers. Please keep your distance so not to separate the chicks from the parents.

Our Loon Committee members are known as Loon Rangers. Anne Covy is Chair with members Dale Covy, Scott Davis, Rich Gedert, Holly Gedert, Jim Hodgson, Dennis Mikus, and Dave Thompson. You may email or call the Loon Rangers with issues and questions: loon@douglaslake.org or 231-537-3269.

Loon Preservation Information

Loon Vocalization -Various loon calls and the meanings.
Prepare and Wait is a video of early nesting on Maple Bay 2017.
Hatch and Survive is a video of chicks on the Maple Bay 2017.

Douglas Lake nesting Information follows —

2024 Season:

See photos from onboard cameras:  2024 Loon photos

4/20 Marl Bay loon pair by the nest.

4/18 Loon checking out Manitou nest.

4/10 The Maple Bay pair arrived.

4/8 Claire, our banded female, returned to NFT.

Rich Gedert, Dennis Mikus, and Scott Davis prepared the nests for 2024 and delivered them to the bays in the cold and wind by 4/1/24.

2023 Season:

See photos from onboard cameras:  2023 Loon photos

8/13 Nesting began May 3 and ended June 5. Each of the 4 platforms had 2 eggs. We have 2 chicks from the Marl Bay nest, one chick from the Maple Bay nest, and one chick from the NFT nest. Manitou Bay had one chick but it was lost during its 3rd week of life probably to a predator. One egg on the Maple Bay was not fertilized, and one egg on each of NFT and Manitou had developed chicks but they did not survive beyond partially or fully hatching. We know we have 3 juvenile loons and believe we have 4 juveniles in total.

6/4 Maple Bay and Manitou Bay have 1 chick each. Marl Bay has 1 chick with the other egg still incubating. NFT has 1 chick so far; update later.

5/26 All is well at all nests. Hatching to begin next week.

5/11 All 4 nests have 2 eggs incubating. Incubation is usually 27-29 days.

5/9 Marl laid their first egg. All 4 nests laid their eggs within 6 days of each other. In 2019, 3 nests laid their eggs within 2 days of each other; in 2021 nesting began at 4 nests at very different times – 4/30, 5/11, 5/20, 5/28. Every year is different.

5/7/2023 Maple, Manitou, and NFT all have 2 eggs. NFT and Maple laid their first egg 1.5 hours apart (NFT first), and the 2nd egg came within an hour of each other (same order) three days later.

4/28/23 Love is in the air. All 4 nests have loon pairs, and they appear to be getting close to nesting.

By 4/19/23, all loon platforms were in place on the lake. Thanks to Rich Gedert and committee members Dennis Mikus, Dale & Anne Covy (Chair), and Holly Gedert. Loons immediately claimed their nests. We feel certain the same loon couple has been at Maple Bay for years, and it appears that the banded loon Claire (from Clam Lake) has returned to the NFT Bay nest after a successful first-year last year.

  • 4/14 As soon as the ice was off the lake, the loons arrived and the committee began placing the floating islands.

2022 Season:

See photos from onboard cameras:  2022 Loon photos

By Sunday 4/24/22, all loon platforms were in place on the lake. Thanks to Rich Gedert and committee members Dennis Mikus, Dale & Anne Covy (Chair), and Holly Gedert. Also, thanks to Tom Koch of Harbor Springs and a special thank you to Michael Ehrick for driving up from Toledo, OH, to help with the camera set up. Loons have been spotted by all the platforms; nesting season will begin shortly.

  • 3/30 Loon seen in Maple Bay. Ice covers most of lake.
  • 4/18 thru 4/25. Place the loon platforms.
  • 4/25 – 4/29 Loons are claiming their territory.
  • 4/30 – 5/5 Loons showing serious intent to begin nesting.
  • Maple Bay 1st egg 5/6, 2nd egg 5/8.
  • Manitou Bay 1st egg 5/9, 2nd egg 5/11.
  • Marl Bay 1st egg 5/10, 2nd egg 5/12.
  • North Fishtail Bay 1st egg 5/17, 2nd egg 5/19.
  • Platforms will be nesting over Memorial Day weekend. Please keep your distance and respect the loon nests.
  • Maple Bay hatched 2 chicks 6/1, 6/2.
  • Marl Bay hatched 2 chicks 6/5, 6/6.
  • Manitou Bay hatched 2 chicks 6/4, 6/5.
  • North Fishtail Bay hatched 2 chicks 6/13, 6/14.
  • 6/18 We have 8 chicks on our lake! Two from each platform.
  • We still had 8 chicks by late August. 100% success. Wow.

Please keep your distance from loon families. The parents separate from the chicks as a distraction when threatened which leaves the chicks vulnerable.


2021 Season:

See photos from onboard cameras. 2021 Loon photos

  • 3/20/21 Loon sighted. Platforms are being prepared for the season.
  • 4/12/21 The nests are placed. The earliest nesting we’ve seen is May 2; the latest June 9. No nesting yet but there is activity.
  • 4/17/21 Had to clean a lot of goose poop off the Maple Bay nest.
  • 4/18/21 Playful activity on the NFT Bay nest.
  • 4/18/21 8:12pm With no previous activity, loon pair relaxing in Marl Bay.
  • 4/22/21 Mating activity on Maple Bay nest. Expect eggs by 4/28.
  • 4/30/21 Nesting has begun at Maple Bay. First egg today! We saw the 2nd egg 3 days later 5/3/21.
  • 5/10/21 Unusual year with geese getting on the loon platforms. We cleaned off a ton of goose poop from Marl Bay’s platform.
  • 5/11/21 Nesting has begun at Marl Bay. First egg on 5/11. Not sure when it was laid, but we can see a 2nd egg 5/14.
  • 5/23/21 Manitou Bay has 2 eggs. 1st one on 5/20, 2nd on 5/23.
  • 5/26/21 1st chick on Maple Bay hatched. 2nd chick hatched 5/29. Please keep your distance from the fragile chicks.
  • 5/30/21 North Fishtail has 2 eggs. 1st one on 5/28, 2nd on 5/30.
  • 6/5/21 1st chick on Marl Bay. 6/7 2nd chick hatched.

Chick Summary:

  • Maple Bay had 2 chicks as of 8/20/21.
  • Marl Bay hatched 2, lost 1 after 1 week, one sighted 8/20/21.
  • Manitou Bay hatched 2, lost 1 after 1 day, one sighted 8/20/21.
  • North Fishtail lost both eggs during nesting.

Please keep a safe distance from the loon nests and chicks.

2020 Season:

See photos from onboard cameras. 2020 Loon photos

  • Loons will be on and off the platforms until nesting begins.
  • 4/12/2020 Maple Bay nest placed. Loon on the platform within minutes.
  • 4/14/2020 Marl Bay nest placed.
  • 4/17/2020 North Fishtail placed.
  • 4/23/2020 Saw 2 loons hanging out in Marl Bay.
  • 5/2/2020   2:47pm See 1 egg on Maple Bay.
  • 5/4/2020   4:31pm  See 2 eggs on Maple Bay.
  • 5/11/2020  2:17pm   See 1 egg on Marl Bay.
  • 5/14/2020 6:18pm   See 1 egg on North Fishtail nest.
  • 5/15/2020  8:07am  See 2 eggs on Marl Bay nest.
  • 5/18/2020  9:25am  See 2 eggs on North Fishtail nest.
  • 6/1/2020   The Maple Bay nest has 2 chicks.
  • 6/9/2020   The Marl Bay nest has 2 chicks
  • 6/11/2020  The North Fishtail nest has 1 chick so far.
  • 6/11/2020  6pm A 2nd chick hatched at North FT.
  • 6/12/2020  Loons are off the nest at North Fishtail.
  • 6/13/2020  Appears there is 1 chick at North Fishtail.

As of 6/13/2020, there are 2 chicks each at Maple Bay and Marl Bay. There is 1 chick at NFT Bay.

As of 7/24/2020, we have 5 chicks maturing on DL. This is a record year! Three active nests produced 5 healthy chicks.

Thank you for keeping your distance from the nests and from the chicks. Your consideration will help increase their chances of survival.


2019 Season – Nesting platforms were in 4 locations.

2019 Link to Photos of Nesting.

  • Loon Nests were placed from 4/26 to 4/28, as soon as ice cleared.
  • It appears nesting began on Maple Bay 5/9/19 at 5:21pm. Pictures confirm there are 2 eggs.
  • Confirm there is an egg on NFT Bay, 5/11/19 9:40am. Confirm there are 2 eggs on NFT Bay, 5/13/19, 5:18pm.
  • Marl Bay nesting began Sun. 5/12/19 – Mother’s Day.
  • Doesn’t look like the Northwoods nest will have nesting.
  • Start looking for loon chicks soon – estimating:
    • June 4 – 6 for Maple Bay
    • June 6 – 8 for NFT Bay
    • June 7 – 9 for Marl Bay
  • 6/4/19 4pm Maple Bay has 1 chick. 6/6/19 First photo of the day at 10am at Maple Bay. Appears a chick hatched during the night. Nest is clear.
  • 6/8/19 7:41am confirm 1 egg hatched on  NFT. 6/13/19 8:20am 2nd egg is gone. Loon off the nest.
  • 6/9/19 AM. One chick so far at Marl Bay.
  • July – One chick survived. It hatched on Maple Bay.


2018 Season:

  • 5/15/2018 One egg on Maple Bay nest.
  • 5/17/2018 There are 2 eggs on the Maple Bay nest.
  • 5/25/2018 Nesting may begin soon at North Fishtail Bay.
  • 5/28/2018 noon – One egg on North Fishtail Bay.
  • 5/30/2018 6:15am – Two eggs on North Fishtail Bay nest.
  • 6/9/2018 It appears nesting began on Marl Bay.
  • 6/11/2018 noon – We have a baby loon on Maple Bay!
  • 6/17/2018 North Fishtail Bay. One of the eggs disappeared.
  • 6/24/2018 We have a baby loon on North Fishtail Bay.
  • 7/6/2018 7am – Loon chick from Marl Bay nest.
  • 7/6/2018 3:40pm There are 2 loon chicks from the Marl Bay nest.
  • 7/7/2018 – There is 1 surviving loon chick from the Marl Bay nest.

2018 Link to Photos of nesting.


2017 Season: Two chicks were born on Maple Bay 5/30/17. One chick was born on the Nuttings Bay platform 6/8/17.

Link to photos of the 2017 nesting season.

Posted on March 6th, 2017 in Events, Programs.