Friday, November 25, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
See our latest issue of Loon Echoes or go to our web site: michiganloons.org
to view and order from our Loon Mercantile Catalog
(Orders can be placed online or by U.S. Mail)
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Lakes, Loons and Limnology
by Ross Powers, retired Aquatic Biologist U.S. EPA, member Michigan Loon Preservation Association
Clean Lakes Attract Loons
Did you know that loons once nested on many southern Michigan lakes? Now you are lucky to find them on lakes south of Clare. Why? Here is a hint: there is a connection between clean water and the bird that symbolizes pure Michigan. Common Loons nest on lakes with clean, clear water and healthy fish populations. They avoid lakes that are too polluted or clogged with weeds. That restricts the lakes that can attract and support loons. Because loons naturally select clean, healthy lakes for their homes, we can use them as biological indicators providing early warnings of degrading water quality.
Because both people and wildlife are are impacted by poor lakes conditions it is important to recognize and preserve lakes with good water quality. The mournful call of a loon is mimicked by Hollywood to provide the feeling of pristine northern living. People value this feeling, and are typically willing to pay more for homes on lakes with loons. Loons are part of the total lake living package on many of our lakes. As a kid, I loved growing up on a lake in Michigan. because there was always something to see and do. I loved the whole experience of being on a lake. Boats, swimmers, ducks and other wildlife were always coming and going. I liked clear lakes for swimming, and other lakes with a few more weeds for fishing. I learned to value the quality of the water in a lake, because it determined how I could use it.
Some lakes are geologically old, and appear to be polluted, but are not. Other lakes with too many weeds can be salvaged if we detect problems early. Excessive nutrients due to inadequate septic systems are bad for fishing, people and loons. Being aware of changes in your lake's water quality can help prevent losing the use of the lake for swimming, aesthetics and wildlife watching. That is where MICorps (or CLMP) water quality monitoring can help. Be informed and you can make a difference.
Lake Associations Are Good For People and Loons
Michigan Lake and Stream Associations are working to provide solutions to problems found on our waters. Armed with the correct information, they can protect your lake. When needed, they can restrict abusive boat traffic, monitor lake conditions, and report changes in the wildlife and environment. By leeping lakes healthy, lake associations are invaluable stewards of our water quality. Poor environmental conditions affect people and wildlife in and around lakes. Water clarity and invasive weeds are stealthy problems that can diminish the use of a lake. As a lake resident, you can prevent the loss of these healthy lakes by simply taking some easy samples and observations. Lake residents, working with the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (www.micorps.net) can provide data to support pollution prevention actions. Lake Associations do many things to protect lakes and, at the same time, this protects the habitat of the the Threatened Common Loons. The health of Michigan's loon population is monitored by the Michigan Loon Preservation Association. The members of MLPA provide this data,through its Michigan Loonwatch Program, for natural resource scientists. You can learn more about loons and how to attract them to your lake, by visiting www.michiganloons.org or joining the Michigan Loon Preservation Association.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Michigan Loonwatch was begun in 1986, designated and set up under the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to create and then to operate under and following the guidelines and recommendations of the Michigan Loon Recovery Plan, which it does to this day. The Recovery Plan was based on the experience and knowledge of Michigan biologists as well as of leading loon biologists Dr. Judy McIntyre and Dr. Paul Strong, and the North American Loon Fund.
Michigan Loonwatch Loon Rangers have helped guide, oversee and protect loons and provide data on loons and their territorial and feeding lakes throughout Michigan for over twenty-five years. A total of over 4,200 baby loons have been nurtured, helped and protected to successful fledging throughout the entire state during these years.
For more information on the Michigan Loonwatch Program, please visit:
*Loon Protection and Monitoring, *Education, *Research
*The direction of Michigan DNRE and the guidelines of its Michigan Loon Recovery Plan
*The support of MLPA and as an affiliate of Michigan Audubon Society
"MLPA-MLW Loon Display" by Paige Calamari, Intern (CMU)
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A Voice From Long Ago: Early Knowledge About Loons
By Joanne C. Williams, State Coordinator MLPA and MLW
One of my most enjoyable interests is to search out old research and writings about the loons. Recently, I found a wonderful book: Life Histories of North American Diving Birds: Order Pygopodes by Arthur Cleveland Bent, a biologist commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to research bird species in America. It became his life’s work, and he published many volumes covering many species. This one on the diving birds, published in 1919, immediately captured my interest. Bent’s earliest personal observation of loons is noted for 1872, near his New England home, with quotes from others throughout the 1800’s and first decade of the 20th century, with several quotes from Audubon’s 1840 works.
A section of the Loon (Gavia immer) pages I found particularly interesting, especially at this time when we are so concerned and wanting to find out more about loon migration. We know that loons have been studied for centuries, and there is very little information that has not been already discerned about them. How did the people and scientists back in earlier days learn about the loon life cycle and habits? By observation; and it appears that there were observers in a great many places, carefully recording and reporting what they found.
This is only one of many books and records. We can see that people have been seriously observing and studying these birds for many years, and have known their needs, lifestyles and habits. The Loons' beauty and specialness has given them a place in peoples' hearts. Our energies and resources today need to go not to repetitious studies that verify information known over 100 years ago, but instead to use what we have learned and to expand protection efforts for the loons and their habitat.
It gives us pause to consider the populations of loons numbering in the thousands just here in Michigan a century ago, and how they are today on our state's Endangered Species list, and, thankfully, now protected by both Michigan and Federal law. We will never again see the numbers as they once were, but we can do our best to to protect and preserve the loons we have left. That is what the loons most need right now, and that is the mission (now twenty-five years on) of MLPA and Michigan Loonwatch, and the mission to which our volunteer Loon Rangers are wholly committed. To lose this treasure would be to lose part of ourselves forever.
The Michigan Loon Preservation Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve the Common Loon as a breeding bird in Michigan through public education, research and the protection and management of loons and their habitat.