Walter Piper

Black Flies Hinder Reproductive Success
5:43 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Loon Chicks Likely To Number Forty Percent Fewer

Northwoods loons continue to feel the effects of black fly swarms earlier this year.
Credit 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. 

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A Case of Bad Timing
6:25 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Loons Abandon Nests Facing Droves of Black Flies

Loons in the Northwoods are suffering due to high numbers of black flies pestering them while they try to nest.
Credit 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.

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