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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center


Loon Study - Update

2010 Study of Common Loon Migratory Movements and Feeding Patterns

USGS researchers will study the migratory movements and feeding patterns of common loons this autumn as they migrate through the Great Lakes toward their winter homes farther south.

By using satellite tracking devices implanted in the loons from Wisconsin and Minnesota, scientists expect to learn essential information about avian botulism needed by managers to develop important conservation strategies for the common loon and other waterbird species.

"This study will also help managers better understand how loons fare as they head to their wintering grounds along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts," said UMESC wildlife biologist Kevin Kenow. "Right now, little is known about movement and habitat use along their entire migratory routes."

In addition to satellite transmitter-marked loons, about 70 other loons will have geolocator tags, which will record daily location, temperature, light levels and water-pressure data that will log the foraging depths of these diving birds. "This information will help shed light on how avian botulism is transferred within the food web on the Great Lakes," said Kenow.

Biologists Luke Fara and Kevin Kenow record measurements of a common loon in northern Wisconsin, July, 2010

Biologists Luke Fara and Kevin Kenow record measurements of a common loon in northern Wisconsin, July, 2010.

 
Common loon with a radio transmitter is released on its breeding lake in northern Wisconsin, July, 2010.
Common loon with a satellite transmitter is released on its breeding lake in northern Wisconsin, July, 2010.

For more information, contact:
Kevin Kenow, U.S. Geological Survey
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
2630 Fanta Reed Road, La Crosse, Wisconsin
Phone: 608.781.6278
Email: kkenow@usgs.gov

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Page Last Modified: March 13, 2014