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Keoka Loons

by Polly Wilcox

Dear KLA Friends and Interested Nature Lovers:

In early June 2021 we were reading and enjoying our family camp on Lake Keoka from our small dock. To our surprise, an adult loon swam nearby and, after a while, under the dock path that leads to the larger dock.

Years ago, our cousins, John and June Caldwell, assisted in the monitoring of a loon nest and family when they were staying in their cottage. I always admired them for their efforts for the loons and for KLA. Another time, their daughter, Brenda, told me a very sad story about the nighttime sounds of a mother loon mourning the loss of a newborn chick.

I know Lake Keoka citizens value and watch out for our loons. That afternoon, as I took a photo of the loon under the dock below my size 9 foot, it appeared the loon had only one leg or flipper. It was a Sunday, as I recall. I called Lakes Environmental Association and discussed my concern for the one-footed loon. We discussed who to call next, as the LEA person felt too inexperienced to recommend proper care. One suggestion was to call KLA. I did, and through the KLA Facebook site, reached out to KLA. Later, to our relief, KLA President Charlie Tarbell texted me with some history about this year's loon population.

In summary, two male loons were fighting over a female loon and one had "won" and the other had fled the angry winner and the lady loon. Charlie wisely said he guessed we were viewing the loser of the conflict. In summary, he said something like, "Keoka Lake is only big enough for one nesting family of loons." He recommended we let nature take its course and leave our visiter alone.

We have taken many lessons and grateful thoughts from our loon experience that day. Be aware of unusual animal behavior and when you are concerned, don't act until you have advice from an experienced professional or member of a group concerned about the "life of the lake." Respect those people who participate in our Maine organizations and who value all parts of our lake existence.

We miss my husband, Steve Wilcox, who introduced us to Lake Keoka. I feel he is watching us from afar and is pleased we are caring for the lake life that he treasured, as do all our relatives and friends.

Best wishes,

Polly Wilcox

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