loons

Mike Baird via https://flic.kr/p/JAwGP

A researcher working in the Northwoods has found evidence that loons age.  Scientists haven’t been able to demonstrate this until now because of how long loons live. 

Chapman University’s Walter Piper has been studying loon behavior for the past twenty two years, through research in Oneida County called the Loon Project.

Mike Baird via https://flic.kr/p/JAwGP

New state mercury emissions rules for power plants could have significant benefits for loons.

A Northwoods researcher is hoping to quantify those benefits over the next decade. 

Wisconsin DNR Toxicologist Mike Meyer says when loons consume mercury through eating fish, it can inhibit the birds’ reproduction.

Mike Baird via https://flic.kr/p/JAwGP

Loons are still feeling the impact from swarms of black flies that drove most pairs from their nests earlier this year.  There’s likely to be a 40 percent drop in the number of chicks compared to last year.

Thanks to the black flies, more than two thirds of loons in a study abandoned their first attempt at a nest.  Researcher Walter Piper of the Loon Project says even though most have by this time made a second attempt, reproduction is way behind. 

Mitch Mode

As many of us in the Northwoods are being driven crazy by mosquitoes, loons are being harassed by blackflies. 

High numbers of loons are having trouble staying on their nests this year due to a surge in a certain kind of black fly that only targets loons.  

Walter Piper, a researcher from Chapman University who has been studying loons in the Northwoods for twenty two years, says it’s the most abandoned nests he’s ever seen.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Piper about what that means for the loon population.

Mike Baird via https://flic.kr/p/JAwGP

With the ice slowly melting, loons are starting to return to the Northwoods. 

Though this winter has been long, one wildlife rehabilitator says it’s been much better for loons than last year.

Marge Gibson from the Raptor Education Group remembers that last spring she treated dozens of loons that had been caught in ice storms while in flight.