• Article

    Loons have been present each summer on Star Lake as far back as anyone can remember. Usually families with chicks are observed, but some summers without chicks have gone by. There is a tradition that loons next on "Loon Island" the smallest of the five islands on the lake, which is basically a single bush surrounded by reeds. I have, however, never observed a loon nest there, nor anywhere on the lake I am aware of.

    Loons migrate south each year to various ocean habitats.

    From Tremolo, Fall, 2007, published by Loon Watch at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College, Ashland: "Loon chicks. . .will migrate to the ocean and stay there for up to five years. At about three years of age they will get their adult plumage, and may return north, but typically won't begin nesting until they are five years old. Loons that were banded as chicks have shown that some return to the lake or to the region where they were born."

    A short entry in the Environment Section of National Geographic (2009) suggests that mercury may be affecting loons: causing "loony" behavior, smaller eggs, not chicks, and less ability to care for the chicks. The is a result of the fact that loons eat fish, and the fish at the top of the food chain accumulate toxic levels of mercury. (Mercurial Loons)

    Charles P. Forbes
    October 25, 2007
  • Bibliography

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    McIntyre, Judith. Common Loon Cries for Help. [National Geographic, 175:4, Apr 1989, p.510] 1989, . View Full Entry
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    Minor References

    ****. Northland Students Study Effects of Climate Change on Local Lakes and Loons. [Tremolo, Winter 2009, p. 5,] Ashland, 2009. View Full Entry (Full text available)
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    Gilchrist, Susan. Science Supporting Decisions, 2001-2003 Biennial Report, Wisconsin DNR, Bureau of Integrated Science Services. [PUB-SS-985 2003] Madison, 2003. View Full Entry
    LeMoine, Erica. Dr. Walter Piper's Loon Behavior Research in Wisconsin. [Tremolo, Spring 2012] Ashland, 2012. View Full Entry
    London, Johathan. Loon Lake. San Francisco, 2002. View Full Entry
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    +++FEWER CHICKS IN 2011

    The LoonWatch Annual Report for 2011 indicated fewer checks per adult pair in 2011 and attributed this to two causes: (1) the stress of more loons competing for the same limited territory and (2) "an infestation of black flies that caused loons to leave their nests to rid themselves of the pesky insects." See: ##1742 LeMoine##, ##398 McIntyre##, and ##1741 Weinandt##.