Thursday, August 16, 2007

Vermont Loon Recovery Project

Eric Hanson (click for more photos)

Yesterday, VPR's Vermont Tradition (August 15, 2007) (click here the mp3 archive of the show) interviewed Eric Hanson of the VINS Vermont Loon Recovery Project. He gave us some interesting loon information:

Loons are swimming and flying birds. They leave the land after birth and may not touch land again for seven years, when they have their first chicks.

  • In a 10 year period, a pair of loons will produce, on average, 5 living chicks.
  • In Vermont, the loons are producing an average of 7 living chicks in 10 years.
  • In Maine, the average is down to 3.
  • The difference could be mercury pollution.
  • There are now 200 loons in Vermont. I saw five of them!
  • Loons share chick-raising responsibilities 50-50.
  • Because of the sharing of chick rearing, and the same plummage, there is no way to tell which loon is male and which is female.
  • Loons often will raise one huge foot out of the water and waggle it as if waving hello.
  • This is probably a stretching movement and not a cooling mechanism.
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