July 9, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.
To the Editor
Adult loon found injured on Girl Lake
Dennis & Elsie Hagen on Girl Lake found an injured loon in their yard on the morning of July 5th. It appeared that his wing could not move well.
They ended up contacting us, Jenny Chapman (GCWLAA Loon Liaison) and Scott Chapman. We immediately transported the loon to Garrison Animal Hospital and Wild and Free Wildlife Rehabilitation for treatment. Soon after arrival, we received the bad news that this loon had a severely severed wing and could not be saved. On top of that, this loon had two loon chicks, which hatched on June 17th and were waiting for his return.
How did this happen?
Most likely, this loon was hit by a boater or jet skier on July 3 or 4th. Death from collision with a watercraft is one of the most common causes of adult loon and chick deaths next to lead poisoning. Loons are federally protected and everyone must do their part to help protect our state bird.
There are loon safe boating rules that need to be followed while enjoying a day on the lake.
1. Watch ahead and give loons a wide berth. They have the right-of-way. Loons will not try to dive out of the way when protecting chicks on their backs or on the water.
2. Slow down-go around – speed kills! Keep your speed down near loons, especially outside no wake zones where loons rear their chicks.
3. Do not approach or separate loon families. Loon parents are not able to protect their chicks when separated.
4. The best way to observe loons is at a distance about 150 ft. away with binoculars.
What will happen to these two loon chicks now? It is possible for a single adult loon to raise one chick, but it is difficult for a single adult to raise two chicks. The loon watchers on Girl Lake, Sue Meyer and Kathy Scharmer along with other loon lovers on the lake, will be watching closely to see what happens next.
Please continue to be loon alert - Girl Lake still has three other chicks; Woman Lake currently has six and still waiting on two other nesting loons.
What to do if you see a hurt or injured loon on your lake?
1. Do not try and rescue the Common Loon on your own. Injured loons can be dangerous when handled.
2. The best way to transport a Loon without any added injury is in a large box with newspapers or a towel on the bottom.
3. If the loon needs immediate attention, please call or text:
Jenny Wuebker Chapman, Loon Liaison for CGWLAA at (651) 324-1040 or Kathy Scharmer at (391) 361-1443
If you want to be a loon volunteer or loon watcher to help on your lake, please let us know.
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