Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Movements and Migration of Common Loons

Yesterday, I was reading an email about a Common Loon that was found at Brookville Reservoir in east central Indiana on January 1. That's not a terribly unusual sighting for Indiana other than that this bird has a radio antenna attached to it that allows scientists to track its movement. After seeing the bird again on February 6, the observers started doing some research to learn more about this bird and where it came from. It turns out that it is part of a long-term research project on the movement of Common Loons that is run by Kevin Kenow from the USGS.

Common Loon on Breeding Grounds at Seney National Wildlife Refuge (This is not the loon currently at Brookville)

There are several loons that have been tagged in northern Wisconsin and south central Minnesota. The individual currently at Brookville breeds on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in northern Wisconsin. During its 2010 fall migration, it stopped at Brookville Reservoir but continued on to the Gulf of Mexico to winter. It returned to Wisconsin in the spring and attempted to nest. The nest was unsuccessful due to black fly issues (these are just about the nastiest biting insects in the northwoods) according to Kevin Kenow.

It will be interesting to continue to follow this loon and see if he has better success nesting this year. Check out the movements of about 20 different loons on the project's website at: http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/terrestrial/migratory_birds/loons/migrations.html

-Rob

No comments: