Will Oil Spill Impact Loon Numbers?

With the ice now out on most Quetico-Superior area lakes, experts are wondering if the region’s common loon population will have been impacted by last year’s Gulf of Mexico’s oil spill.

Common Loon with chick, courtesy National Parks Service http://www.nps.gov/katm/pphtml/photogallery.html
Common Loon with chick, courtesy National Parks Service http://www.nps.gov/katm/pphtml/photogallery.html

Minnesota Public Radio is running THIS Associated Press story on the question. The St. Cloud Times is also exploring the issue HERE.

Wildlife experts fear Minnesota’s breeding population of common loons which over-winter along the Gulf Coast may have been compromised by the BP oil spill. While a definitive answer to whether or not loon populations have been harmed won’t come until results of Minnesota annual Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program are complied. Early observations have been heartening. Anecdotal evidence suggests loon are returning to area lakes as hoped.

Since Minnesota’s loon counting program began in 1994, loon numbers have been relatively stable across the state.

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