Lake Wildlife



We all want to protect our wildlife and live in harmony with the nature around us. But wildlife may not feel the same way! So we have compiled some information to assist cottagers in making informed decisions around the key wildlife around our lake. We interact with Beavers and Loons regularly on our lake. We have a few Loon families who return every year, and of course the beavers play a key role in both our lake water level as well as their impact along the shoreline.


Some context on why beavers do what they do, and what it means to us.

Beavers aim to fell trees near a water source so that they can return as quickly as possible to the water to consume the green shoots of poplars and other deciduous trees. In the water, they are free from predators (these are wolves, coyotes and to a lesser degree, bears).There are often 5 or 6 beavers in a lodge. Beavers will dig channels near the shoreline enabling them to swim under felled trees. This process may increase sediment in the water. The entrance to a beaver’s lodge is also below the water line. In creeks, beavers build dams to protect the entrance to their lodges and to bring the water – their natural protector – closer to their source of food. Beavers may not be the only or primary cause of increased e-coli (polluted run-off and faulty septic systems are the culprits here).

Approaches to beaver management:

Important notes on Beaver lodges and Beaver Dams

Beavers have a number of protections in the province of Quebec and it’s important cottagers are aware of these in case you run into problem with Beavers.

First, Beaver lodges and dams are protected under the law, and cannot be removed without a permit. That permit is likely only to be granted if there is a risk to safety and security of the property. This is important because if the beaver is interfering with the enjoyment of your property, the MRC and the law, will require you to live and let live.

Second, Beaver dams are considered to be on the property, and not on the lake. So only the property owner can influence what happens to that damn or lodge. If you don’t own the property, it is illegal to take your own action regarding a beaver damn. You must work with the property owner. We have asked the MRC des Collines to provide information about whether property owners have responsibilities in the event that beavers on their property cause damage to other properties. This information will be added to the website when it becomes available.

Impact on our Water Levels

Beavers move around and from time to time they build lodges which become dams in our lake inlet and outlet areas. This can have a marked impact on lake water levels. The Association is keeping a close eye on water levels and what is causing them. If you see beaver lodge in those areas, please send us a note through the Contact form on this website. We work very closely with La Peche and the MRC on our water levels, especially when beavers are involved. We’ve had a lot of success with the MRC working directly with the property owner and the Association on what steps can be taken. It’s important that you do not take any steps to remove the dam yourself… again, the dams are protected and are on private property.

Damage to your trees

If you’re concerned about beavers felling trees which may damage your property, you may wish to wrap soft deciduous trees in chicken wire, protecting the first three or four feet from the ground up. The same may be done for wooden posts supporting decks, stairs or buildings.

Removal of Beavers.

In very simple terms, you need a permit from the MRC des Collines. They will guide you from there. Information on getting a permit can be found on the MRC website.

The Common Loon

Some context on our loons and what it means to us.

Common loons are large diving birds that spend their summers on open fresh water lakes and their winters on the seacoast. During the summer they sport distinctive black and white breeding plumage. They are 0.6 to 1 metres (2 to 3 ft) long, weigh 4 to 5 kilograms (10 lbs) and have a wingspan of 1.2 to 1.5 metres (4 to 5 ft).

The Best Approach is to NEVER Approach:

Loons have been on our lake long before us and there are many ways we can inadvertently harm them. Always keep your distance.
Be aware of loons 

If you see a loon from late June to September, chances are that one or two chicks will be close by. Keep your distance and move away.

Listen to loons 

If you approach a loon and hear it start to call, this means you are too close. Move away.

Watch what loons do 

if you see a loon “dancing” straight up out of the water and slapping with its wings, it is alarmed by your presence. Move away.

Take note that the best thing to do, always, is to MOVE AWAY

Watercraft and Loons.

There are many ways that watercraft can have a negative effect on loons:

• Power boats can send waves crashing into shorelines, drowning nests
• Fishing boats, particularly bass and pike anglers, frequent areas preferred for loon nest sites
• Canoes can slip quietly into loon nesting areas and startle loons off their nests
• Personal Watercraft (PWCs) can speed in shallow water and run over chicks
• Boats pulling water-skiers and tubers may speed near shorelines and run over chicks.

Loon parents will leave the nest if a watercraft comes within 150 metres (500 feet) of the nest. This leaves the eggs without warmth or protection. Loon parents may abandon the nest if disturbed too often. If they try to re-nest later in the season, the likelihood of chicks hatching and surviving is very low.
Get the Lead Out

Loons, like many birds, normally ingest small pebbles (grit) in order to help digest their food. Loons often have as many as 20-30 pebbles in their gizzard at one time. Unfortunately if this material contains lead, which can be in the form of small sinkers, jigs or shotgun shot, poisoning of the loon will occur. Non-toxic alternatives such as steel and bismuth are now readily available. So – get the lead out!

Nesting Loons

Most loons start to nest from the middle to the end of May. They generally lay 2 eggs which will hatch 27 to 29 days later (late June). Nests are usually on small islands or the back end of bays and inlets.

Since loons only have one or two chicks per year so every chick counts. The survival of loons depends on these chicks staying healthy until they are strong enough to fly south (late October – November).

Loon Chicks

Young chicks are not waterproof! They need to be able to climb on their parents’ backs to stay warm and dry. When watercraft come close, parents leave their chick to defend their territory.

Young chicks can’t dive! Young chicks are very buoyant and can’t dive very quickly or very deep. This make them particularly vulnerable to being run over by watercraft, particularly from June to September.

Chicks tire easily! The presence of watercraft causes chicks to keep swimming instead of feeding and resting. This can weaken them, affecting their ability to survive.

Chicks frequent open water! 
It is the habit of loon parents to move the chicks away from the small bay nesting environment, out into deeper water along more open shorelines, to avoidtheir natural predators. Unfortunately this puts them into direct conflict with watercraft – particularly PWCs and boats pulling waterskiers, tubers and wake-boarders.