Center for Loon Conservation

The Common Loon—beautiful, alluring, mythical—is one of the most important indicators
for the overall health of aquatic environments. Photo © Daniel Poleschook

BRI Launches the Largest Loon Study in North America

Restore the Call: A Scientific Initiative to Restore and Recover Loon Populations to their Former Range

Supported by a grant from the Ricketts Conservation Foundation, which first proposed the idea, Biodiversity Research Institute has initiated the largest conservation study for the Common Loon (Gavia immer), a key bioindicator of aquatic integrity for lakes and near shore marine ecosystems across North America. This initiative provides an opportunity to identify current major threats and create solutions that strengthen current populations and restore loons to their former breeding range.

To learn, more click here.


About the Center for Loon Conservation

BRI’s Center for Loon Conservation offers an essential comprehensive resource for local and global communities concerned with loon preservation. Because of the breadth and depth of our expertise, we can provide leadership to address issues that have the potential to impact loon populations. Our research studies encompass a variety of ecological stressors: chemical toxins such as mercury or lead; habitat loss in breeding and wintering grounds as well as along migratory routes; and diseases such as avian influenza.

The Center is also actively involved in assisting state and regional conservation agencies in loon monitoring efforts, capture and banding efforts, and development of management plans to ensure long-term reproductive success.

BRI’s innovative approach to loon studies positions us at the forefront of research that has applications for conservation efforts and management. Currently, none of the five loon species are considered federally endangered, although the Yellow-billed Loon is being considered for federal listing and the Red-throated Loon is a species of concern on the Eastern Seaboard.

The Center for Loon Conservation is dedicated to assessing current and emerging threats to loons, and to collaboration with the many agencies and organizations that work to conserve loon populations throughout the world.

Scientific Research Education and Outreach Publications

Loon Center Staff

Director: David C. Evers, Ph.D.
207-839-7600 x221

CLC Senior Scientist: Jim Paruk, Ph.D.
CLC Outreach Specialist:
Kate Taylor
CLC Research Specialist: Carrie Osborne Gray
Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation Coordinator: Nina Schoch
CLC Maine Specialist: Mike Chickering
CLC Massachusetts Specialist: Lee Attix
CLC Montana Specialist: Carl Anderson
CLC Wyoming Specialist: Vince Spagnuolo
CLC Assistant: Chris Persico
Adjunct Loon Research Biologists: Jeff Fair, Ken Wright, Darwin Long
Collaborating Program Directors: Andrew Gilbert, Lucas Savoy, Chris DeSorbo, David Yates

Scientific Research

BRI began its history with the study of mercury contamination in the Common Loon. Research efforts have expanded to include additional species, such as Red-throated and Yellow-billed Loons, and to examine emerging threats to loon conservation, such as climate change. Our overall goal is to identify anthropogenic threats to loon populations and to develop research projects to mitigate those threats and help at-risk populations achieve self-sustaining levels.

Some of our current projects include:

Jim Paruk holding a Yellow-billed Loon in Alaska's North SlopeDr. Jim Paruk stands on Alaska’s North Slope at 3:00 AM during a field expedition to capture and band Yellow-billed Loons, one of
the rarest breeding birds in North America and the least studied of the world’s five species of loons. Photo © Brandon Braden

Monitoring Efforts

Monitoring loons is paramount to continued understanding of population trends. Our banding efforts encompass Maine, Massachusetts and New York. We also assist other states, including Washington, Wyoming, and Montana, in their monitoring efforts. As a result of research carried out on banded loon populations, laws designed to regulate and reduce mercury and lead have been implemented.

Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation

Initiated in 2009, BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation (ACLC) evolved from the former Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program. The Adirondack Park, a six-million-acre reserve in upstate New York, boasts hundreds of lakes and ponds—perfect breeding grounds for the Common Loon (Gavia immer). The ACLC is dedicated to improving the overall health of this environment, particularly the protection of air and water quality, through collaborative research and education efforts focusing on the natural history of the Common Loon and conservation issues affecting loon populations and their aquatic habitats.

Education and Resources

The loon is a charismatic species that inspires poets and naturalists alike. From its haunting calls to the depths of its diving abilities, there is much to learn and appreciate about these birds. This section allows students, educators, and the general public to access a wealth of information pertaining to loons.

Adopt-a-Loon Program

Loons are mysterious, beautiful, alluring birds. By “adopting” a loon, you can directly support the ongoing research efforts that help protect these magnificent animals. To learn more click here.

Working Groups

BRI is an active member of the Northeast Loon Study Working Group (NELSWG), a consortium of federal and state agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations, which coordinates cooperative research focused on the health of loons in the Northeastern U.S.

Diver/Loon Specialist Group (DLSG) is an association of amateurs and professionals from all parts of the world interested in divers/loons. It forms part of the waterbird network of Wetlands International and The World Conservation Union's (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (IUCN-SSC). For more information concerning Wetlands International, see:

Publications and Resources

Call of the Loon Evers, D. C. and K. M. Taylor. 2006. Call of the Loon. Willow Creek Press, Minocqua, WI. 112 pp.
Facinating Loons Tekiela, Stan. 2006. Fascinating Loons Amazing Images & Behavior. Adventure Publications. Inc. Cambridge, MN. Pp 144.
Just Loons Hutchinson, Alan and Silliker, Jr., Bill. 1998. Just Loons: A Wildlife Watcher's Guide. Willow Creek Press, Minocqua, WI.
Loon Preservation Committee. 2006. Meeting the Challenge Thirty Years of Preserving Loons and Their Habitats in New Hampshire. Loon Preservation Committee. Moultonborough, NH. Pp 26.

Scientific Publications

Recent Media And Reports

Feb 24, 2014
Category: LoonCenter
Posted by: deborah
Oct 18, 2013
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Sep 24, 2013
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Sep 19, 2013
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Sep 13, 2013
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Jul 1, 2013
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Sep 6, 2012
Category: LoonCenter
Posted by: admin

BRI biologist Mike Chickering is featured in a National Public Radio broadcast.

You can listen to the full story here.

Aug 14, 2012
Category: LoonCenter
Posted by: admin

BRI biologist Mike Chickering is featured in a Maine Public Radio broadcast.

You can listen to the full story here.

Jun 28, 2012
Category: LoonCenter
Posted by: admin
Jan 25, 2012
Category: LoonCenter
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THIRTY YEARS AGO, WHEN I RETURNED TO NEW HAMPSHIRE’S Loon Preservation Committee as its director, the outfit was distributing a brochure entitled !e Vanishing Loon.

Aug 19, 2011
Category: LoonCenter
Posted by: admin

In early 2012 Dr. Jim Paruk will be leading an Earthwatch Institute expedition studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the common loon population in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jun 21, 2009
Category: LoonCenter
Posted by: admin
Writer and naturalist Paul Evans goes to Maine to meet David Evers, a conservation biologist who has spent a life with loons, the enigmatic bird of northern lakes known in the UK as the Great Northern Diver. Click here to listen to the show on 7/22/09 at 4:00 pm eastern time.