Wisconsin’s loon population is healthy. Erica LeMoine, who coordinates the LoonWatch program at Northland College in Ashland, says the population for adult loons is estimated at 4,350, an increase of 9.1 percent from the last survey conducted in 2010. The chick population is estimated at 834, an increase of nearly 38 percent.
This survey was undertaken by LoonWatch’s network of over 400 “Loon Rangers,” without the support of DNR staff. “Because of the serious cuts in science staff last year, the DNR was unable to participate,” LeMoine said.
LeMoine said improved communication about loons, expanding volunteers and the LoonWatch Get the Lead Out program, aimed at anglers, are partly responsible for the increase in population.
“There’s a lot of alternatives to lead tackle that are very affordable, LeMoine said, adding that anglers should also make a point of picking up their monofilament line, because loons and other birds can get tangled in it. “Both of those, lead and monofilament line, can cause loons to die or become very debilitated.”