Loon population strong in Wisconsin

May 24, 2016

ASHLAND Recent results from a volunteer survey of loons show that the aquatic bird species' population is strong in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Loon Population Survey estimates that the state's loon population is at 4,350, representing a 9.1 percent increase from 2010. The state's chick population is estimated at 834, accounting for an increase of nearly 38 percent.

Erica LeMoine, coordinator of the Northland College Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute LoonWatch program, said she's "surprised and pleased" by the findings.

"Between the 2010 Gulf oil spill and 2012 botulism outbreak, they've faced extraordinary challenges over the last five years, so this is good news," she said.

LeMoine said improved communication about loons, expanding volunteers and the LoonWatch Get the Lead Out! program are partly responsible for the increase in population.

As the state's longest running and only statewide survey of loons, the Wisconsin Loon Population Survey has been conducted every five year since 1985, the Ashland Daily Press (http://bit.ly/1U7abeH ) reported.

"The survey is vital to collecting baseline data and assessing the effectiveness of current conservation efforts with the loon population," LeMoine said.

At the end of July 2015, more than 200 volunteers collected data, surveying 204 lakes in 27 northern Wisconsin counties.

 

 

Associated Press