Loons have trouble walking on land so if water levels drop, they are unable to get to their nests.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state is looking to protect loons in Pittsfield.
The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says statewide 18 loon rafts are planned to be installed to protect the bird. With loons being reportedly seen at reservoirs operated by the Pittsfield Water Department, rafts are planned to be deployed there.
"This month, loon rafts will be deployed at the DCR Wachusett and Quabbin Reservoirs and on reservoirs operated by the Fitchburg and Pittsfield water departments where loon pairs have been reported," the state said in its most recent newsletter.
The rafts are floated and anchored in loon territory and provide a place to protect the nests and eggs from being flooded. Loons "cannot walk well and are very awkward on land." In the spring they breed and build nests along shorelines.
However, with fluctuating water levels, the nests are sometimes flooded or water levels drop so much the loons can't reach them.
The rafts are constructed of cedar logs, foam and wire with vegetation placed onto to appear as a small island. Predator canopies are added and the raft floats so as not to be flooded or stranded.
Mayor Daniel Bianchi said the city had been approached by wildlife biologist Bridgett McAlice about putting a raft in Cleveland Reservoir because a pair of loons had been spotted there in recent years. Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood said loon activity has been seen around the raft since it was placed there on May 13.
"I am pleased to announce that the Cleveland Reservoir now joins the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs in the fight to protect, and bring back, the common loon population," said Bianchi. " The nesting of this loon pair will, hopefully, be the start of the reappearance of common loons in Berkshire County."
Meanwhile, the state is asking residents to report loons they see. The state has been monitoring loon nesting for years because common loons are listed as a species of special concern for endangered species.
Loons were absent from the state for nearly a century until they were found again in 1975 on the Quabbin Reservoir. By 1984, more loons were found on the Wachusetts Reservoir and two years later nesting activity began across he state.
In 2012, 35 territorial loon pairs were documented on 13 lakes and ponds.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Comments are closed for this article. If you would like to contribute information on this article, e-mail us at info@iBerkshires.com
We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.
How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.