Slow growth for state's loon population
An adult loon stretches its wings while out fishing in the waters of Clement Pond in Hopkinton. The large diving bird is known for its distinctive plumage and its often eerie calls that echo across the water. (Union Leader File)
Senior Biologist/Executive Director Harry Vogel of the Moultonborough-based Loon Preservation Committee reported the results of the 2014 Loon Census at the committee’s annual meeting on Thursday.
“One out of two chicks hatched came from territory with rope signs where loons were protected,” said Vogel. The LPC continued to work with dam operators to maintain water levels where chicks were present. He said all these efforts resulted in about 90 percent of the chicks hatching, all benefiting from direct management.
He said lead poisoning is still the leading single cause of loon fatalities – loons ingest the lead sinkers when they eat the fish that swallowed the lures and got away by breaking the fishing line.
Vogel said loon mortality from lead is being caused by current fishing incidents and not by long-lost lead lures on the shore or bottom of lakes. One way a loon can ingest the deadly metal is to eat the fish – typically a four- to six-inch yellow perch – that ingested the sinker then broke the fishing line.
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