While restoring bird species to their former range is an accepted conservation practice, this project was the first conducted for the Common Loon.
Success for restoring loons to their former range is a three-step progression.
A Summary of Methods and Strategies for the Translocation of Common Loons
Translocation involves multiple teams conducting source population surveys, capture and transport, and safely rearing the chicks. This brochure outlines the major steps to develop a viable translocation and restoration process. In addition, we document loons that have returned to their release lakes.
Download the 2020 brochure here.
In the first phase of this project, BRI researchers developed the techniques and methodology to create a safe and replicable approach for translocation and captive rearing of loon chicks—moving them to a new lake location and confirming that they fledged from that lake.
During the 2014, 2015, and 2016 breeding seasons, BRI researchers, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, successfully translocated 17 chicks (five in 2014; seven in 2015; five in 2016) from the large breeding populations in northern Minnesota to unoccupied lakes south of the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Chicks translocated in the first two seasons ranged in age between 6 and 9 weeks old; those in the third season were older than 9 weeks.
In 2015, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, BRI successfully moved seven chicks from New York’s Adirondack Park to a lake in the Assawompsett Pond Complex (APC) in southeastern Massachusetts. In 2016, BRI translocated nine chicks to the APC (four from New York; five from Maine) with assistance from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. In 2017, eight chicks were translocated from Maine to Massachusetts. Overall, 24 chicks were successfully translocated to Massachusetts.
Six adult loons returned to the lake area in Massachusetts to which they were translocated and captive-reared, and then from which they fledged. Their return marked a major milestone in the efforts to translocate Common Loons.
Read press release here.
Translocation Study in Massachusetts (Round 2)
BRI is proposing to translocate up to 24 more loon chicks from Maine.
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