Bill Presented To Protect Maine’s Precious Loons From Racing Boats
Is there anything more beautiful than the eerie sound of a loon wafting across the waters at twilight? We don't think so.
A new bill being presented by a State Representative from Standish would call on any person or group that wants to hold any sort of boat race, regatta, boat or ski exhibition, or any on the water Trump rally or Super Bowl victory celebration (just kidding) on Maine's ponds or lakes, to abide by recommendations from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in order to protect loons from dying or being injured.
According to an article in the Bangor Daily News, Maine is home to the largest loon population in the Northeast, but that amount has started to decrease over the past couple of years.
One reason is lead poisoning, as loons consume lost fishing gear below the surface. The other reason is blunt trauma from collisions on the water.
Loons mostly spend the majority of their time in the water casually drifting around or diving below to feed on small fish. Very rarely will you see a loon on land, except to nest or do the wild thing with another loon.
While loons are excellent swimmers and can sometimes be clocked up to 70 miles per hour while up in the air, they take far too long at taking off for flight. A loon cannot just up and take flight like some light as a feather bird like a chickadee.
Loons need a runaway of sort, just like an airplane, and that runaway could be anywhere from 30 yards or so up to a quarter-of-a-mile long. Thus the reason why they can't just get out of the way of a speeding boat, water skier or jet ski. Yes, loons can dive below when they see these speeding watercraft coming at them, but many instances of the birds being chewed up by propeller blades have been recorded.
Loons can live into their 20s, but not if they're suddenly run over by a boat sporting 300 horsepower and speeding across the lake at 60 mph.
The birds are as Maine as Maine can be, and we think that any protection that we can give them is a good idea.