This year marked the seventh Wisconsin Loon Population Survey. This survey started in 1985 and is orchestrated once every five years on 258 pre-selected lakes throughout northern Wisconsin. This year 230 volunteers surveyed 223 lakes on July 18 between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
During this time, survey volunteers recorded the number of adult loons and loon chicks. If a volunteer did not see loons on the lake, that was valuable information too, and so noted. This is the only survey that gives us a big picture look at Wisconsin’s loon population, and the results will be used to estimate the statewide loon population.
Loons face many threats: habitat loss, pollution, lead tackle, and predation, to name a few. Within the last five years, loons encountered additional stressors—primarily the Gulf oil spill and botulism outbreaks on the Great Lakes. This survey is vital to assessing the effectiveness of current conservation efforts with the loon population.