The Common Loon is a welcome sight on Canada’s lakes each year, bringing enjoyment to anyone who has heard their ethereal call. For many, hearing a loon call, is a spiritual experience. It may come as no surprise to learn that the Common Loon is increasingly under threat.
Volunteers can help these elegant and iconic birds by participating in Bird Studies Canada’s Canadian Lakes Loon Survey. Survey volunteers have been supporting loon and lake conservation for over three decades by reporting on loon chick survival. Will you be spending at least one day a month in June, July, and August at a lake graced by loons?
These efforts are important to the future of Canada’s loons. Common Loon populations are being negatively impacted by pollution, human disturbance, habitat loss, and other threats. Survey results indicate the average annual number of chicks produced per breeding pair has decreased over time across the country.
Survey volunteers are needed for 2018. With its black and white plumage, large profile and haunting calls the Common Loon is Canada’s most iconic and beloved inhabitant of our lakes. But this ancient predator is undergoing systemic and increasing human pressure; pressures great enough that loons may someday be unable to maintain their current population levels. A concern verified by Canadian Lakes Loon Survey data that suggests Common Loon reproduction has declined over the last 30 years.
Canadian Lakes Loon Survey participants have worked since 1981 to track Common Loon reproductive success by monitoring chick hatch and survival. Participants dedicate at least three dates, visiting their lake once in June (to see if loon pairs are on territory), once in July (to see if chicks hatch) and once in August (to see if chicks survive long enough to fledge).
Participants also work as stewards within their communities sharing knowledge of better boating, fishing and shoreline practices, not only protecting and supporting loons but the many other aquatic species that share our waterways.
Families, lake property owners, fishermen and women, boaters, kayakers and recreating citizens can all help monitor the health of their favourite lake. By participating in the ‘Canadian Lakes Loon Survey’ you can take their recreational activities to another level – active participation in science towards conservation.
Birds Canada http://birdscanada.org/ encourages citizens to monitor loons at the lake of their choice – anywhere in Canada! To learn more, visit the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey webpage or contact the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey Coordinator Kathy Jones at [email protected]
In addition to monitoring, the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey supports volunteers in taking on stewardship roles at lakes.
Visit the survey webpage for conservation tips and articles, nesting platform instructions, signs that can be posted near loon nest sites, and other resources. Citizen scientists can also download and share the new educational sign showing the “Top Six Ways to Help Loons” here: http://birdscanada.org/volunteer/clls/resources/Topsixwaystohelploons.pdf