Mayor Bianchi announced that, along with the seed planting event for endangered Chestnut Trees, another initiative in Pittsfield is taking place this month to help the endangered and threatened Common Loon species. Earlier this year, the City of Pittsfield worked with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to place a loon raft in the Cleveland Reservoir. The Reservoir, which is located in Hinsdale, supplies drinking water to the City of Pittsfield. The raft was placed in the Cleveland Reservoir on May 13th.
Mayor Bianchi explained, “Wildlife biologist, Bridgett McAlice, came to me and Bruce Collingwood [Commissioner of Public Utilities], requesting to place a loon raft on the Cleveland Reservoir after a loon pair was spotted there in recent years. She noted that the Cleveland Reservoir did not have a suitable nesting site; therefore, the loons, their eggs and their young, were in danger.”
While biologists would prefer to have loons nest in a natural area, such as small islands or hummocks, when they are not available, loon rafts are the next best option.
The rafts, which appear as small islands to the loons, are made of cedar and rise and fall with the water level. The movement with the water is key in keeping the loon’s eggs and young protected from predators that come from all directions: predators include birds, ground animals (such as raccoons or weasels) and fish.
Bianchi also said, “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. The nesting of this Loon pair will, hopefully, be the start of the reappearance of Common Loons in Berkshire County.”
Since the placement, Collingwood’s staff reported seeing loons within the vicinity of the raft.