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Restore the Call - Minnesota
Restore the Call - Minnesota

Restore the Call - Minnesota

BRI, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN-DNR), is piloting a study to investigate the success of moving loon chicks from one area of the state to another. If successful, this method may be adopted by other states where loons are listed as threatened or species of concern.

Researchers have selected an area in the southern part of the loon’s range containing several mesotrophic lakes that provide optimal loon habitat. They have selected one lake within this area to release loon chicks. To date, twelve loon chicks have been released in southern Minnesota and fledged from the release lake.

Lead Investigator: Jim Paruk
Contributing BRI Staff: Allie ByrdMichelle Kneeland, Kristin Kovach, Ginger Stout

Captive Rearing Slide Show

CAPTIVE REARING SLIDE SHOW

In the summers of 2014 and 2015, loon chicks were translocated as part of the loon restoration and relocation project. Click here for slide show.
Overall Study Goals

Overall Study Goals

  • Evaluate habitat quality of southern Minnesota lakes to identify a cluster of suitable lakes within 10-15 miles of one another; these lakes will provide habitat for a possible translocated population and one will house the captive rearing apparatus
  • To augment or extend the breeding range of Minnesota’s loon population Evaluate health and contaminant burdens of chicks and adults
  • Assist MN-DNR with outreach efforts toward loon conservation
 

Study Region

We will focus our conservation efforts in south central Minnesota (green), where we will be releasing translocated chicks. The source population will be in the north central region of the state (blue). In addition, we will conduct loon surveys in both the central and northern parts of the state.
We will focus our conservation efforts in south central Minnesota (green), where we will be releasing translocated chicks. The source population will be in the north central region of the state (blue). In addition, we will conduct loon surveys in both the central and northern parts of the state.
Study Goals for 2015

Study Goals for 2015

Conservation Research
  • Continue moving chicks to establish a southern population 
  • Test a new direct release protocol for older chick translocations 
  • Establish a research protocol for studying aspergillosis and vocal behavior

Monitoring

  • Survey areas in southern Minnesota for loon occupancy and reproductive success.


Research

  • Capture chicks and evaluate their health by testing their tissues for potentially harmful environmental pollutants and contaminant
  • Test chicks for potential stress proteins that may be indicators of climate change

Outreach

  • Develop outreach materials to assist agencies and others with loon conservation interests.
2015 Summary

2015 Summary

  • New moveable blind system developed for feeding without being seen 
  • New direct release protocol tested 
  • Audio recordings of chicks in pen collected 
  • Seven chicks successfully translocated and fledged from rearing lake
 
Project Funding

Project Funding

This project is part of The Ricketts Conservation Foundation 5-year Restore the Call scientific initiative, a national loon study that is being carried out by BRI.
Minnesota Status Report for the Common Loon

MINNESOTA STATUS REPORT FOR THE COMMON LOON

Known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota boasts 11,842 lakes that are larger than 10 acres in size. There are more loons in Minnesota—an estimated 4,600 territorial pairs or 52 percent of the breeding population—than in all U.S. states (except Alaska). Although the state’s loon population is healthy, current environmental threats require monitoring and action.

Download the Status Report

 
Photo Credits: Header photo: © BRI-Jim Paruk.
Biodiversity Research Institute