Little is known about the movements of common loons (Gavia immer) during migrations and on wintering ranges in coastal waters. This information is needed to formulate effective regional and national conservation strategies.
The Upper Midewest Environmental Sciences Center, UMESC, has collaborated with regional partners in the use of satellite telemetry to study the movements of common loons located on breeding lakes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and Nevada.
The use of satellite telemetry allows biologists to track loon movements through distant migrations and during winter. A transmitter attached to a radiomarked loon periodically sends a signal which is detected by a satellite-based receiver; the data is downloaded to a earth-based receiving station. The data is interpreted by wildlife biologists and other specialists.
This year several loons in our area have been attached with transmitters. There are four loons from Big Mantrap marked as M2, M6, M7, and M8 on the 2011 and 2012 Interactive Migration Map. Also, there is a loon from a Leech Lake marsh marked as LM, and a loon on Leech Lake marked M9. Common loons often migrate several hundred miles to reach coastal waters during fall migration. Information about this part of the loon's life history is not well known.
To follow the migration of our local loons, and other loons in Minnesota and Wisconsin, go to: Loon Migration