BRI Hosts Media Event to Launch the Largest Ever Common Loon Study

Restore the Call
A Scientific Initiative to Strengthen and Restore Loon Populations within their Existing and Former Range

BRI has recently been awarded a $6.5 M grant from the new Ricketts Conservation Foundation to begin the largest loon conservation study in North America. The loon is a key bioindicator of aquatic integrity for lakes and near shore marine ecosystems. These iconic birds are becoming more exposed and susceptible to serious threats from type E botulism, mercury pollution, lead poisoning, oil spills, and over development.


We apologize, but due to a fiber optic interruption in Jackson we are cancelling the BRI press conference. However, a video recording of the press conference will be available on the BRI website ( early next week.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

Biodiversity Research Institute

Critical Milestones

This initiative represents two critical milestones for conservation:

Species Restoration
The goal of this initiative is to strengthen breeding populations in their existing range and to restore loons to their former breeding range. While restoring bird species to their former range is a common conservation practice, it has never been conducted for the Common Loon.

Shifting Trends
A paradigm shift is underway in how wildlife conservation is funded. Government agencies are responsible for the health of our wildlife and the ecosystems they inhabit. However, those agencies are now increasingly dependent on resources from individuals and/or nongovernmental organizations for work they traditionally funded.

Study Regions

In collaboration with state and federal agencies, this study will focus efforts in three regions of the United States:

Event Speakers

David Evers, Ph.D. – Executive Director, Biodiversity Research Institute
In 1989, David Evers developed the first replicable loon capture method, which enabled researchers to closely study the ecology of this elusive but important indicator of aquatic health. He conducted his doctoral research on the behavioral, physiological, and reproductive effects of mercury on loons. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles on his research and is the author of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Conservation and Management Plan for the Common Loon and the Birds of North American account for the Common Loon. In 2010, he established BRI’s Center for Loon Conservation. He and his staff have banded more than 5,000 Common Loons to date.

Joe Ricketts – Founder, Ricketts Conservation Foundation
Philanthropist Joe Ricketts formed this foundation to support conservation of wildlife and natural resources. Restore the Call is the inaugural project for the Foundation.

Jeff Fair – Loon Field Biologist, Author
From Maine to Alaska, Jeff Fair has been studying loons for more than 35 years. An award-winning writer and the author of two books on the Arctic, his essays have appeared in Audubon Magazine, Alaska Magazine, Natural History, The Christian Science Monitor, Equinox, Ranger Rick, and Appalachia.

Project Funding

Funding for this project has been generously provided by the Ricketts Conservation Foundation, which was formed to support the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. Underlying the Foundation’s mission is the reality that government no longer has sufficient resources to deal effectively with the growing environmental challenges we face. As a result, private individuals and corporations must increasingly shoulder the responsibility of conserving our wildlife and wilderness areas. To learn more, visit