A Management, Protection and Registry Program of the
Michigan Loon Preservation Association
Dear Friend of the Loon,
Here is a brief outline of our Michigan Loonwatch Program, to let you know more about us and the things that our Loon Rangers and Alternate Rangers do to help in the protection efforts for Michigan's Common Loons and their habitat.
Michigan Loonwatch began in 1986 to provide registry, management and protection of the Common Loon. The volunteer Loon Rangers are a vital part of our program, and with their help we are presently monitoring over 660 Michigan lakes and using the information in many ways to help the loons.
Briefly, the duties of the Loon Rangers are:
• to report yearly to the Area and State Coordinator on the loons' nesting efforts on their lakes: the number of loon pairs, the number of chicks hatched and fledged, and also on the lake environment and habitat as they affect the nesting efforts.
• to act to protect the loons from people, animals and other birds, and to report immediately to the appropriate public agencies any problems the loons may have.
• to provide a protection and public education plan for loons on their lakes for neighbors and lake visitors, such as posting Loon Alert signs and educational materials which are provided by Loonwatch.
• to map loon nesting habitat for use in review of proposed lakeshore projects and the management of water levels. Each spring a packet containing information, forms, instructions and materials is sent out to our Loon Rangers. Throughout the year they will be assisted by an Area Coordinator. The Rangers are asked to return a Lake Report Form to the State Coordinator late in the Fall, so that data gained from their observations can be entered into the Loonwatch database.
If you have any questions or concerns, or if there is more information that you would like, and/or if you would like to consider becoming part of our Loon Ranger Program, please contact:
Joanne C. Williams
State Coordinator: MLPA/MLW
P. O. Box 294
Shepherd MI 48883
On behalf of the Michigan Loon Preservation Association and Michigan Loonwatch, and for a bright future for Michigan's Common Loon, we thank you for your interest and look forward to hearing from you!
MLPA/MLW and Other Programs: Working Together
By Joanne C. Williams, State Coordinator MLPA/MLW
The MLPA/MLW continues to work with other agencies and programs. This year, as in years past, we are working along with Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI), through Jennifer Olson, on helping to provide information for The Michigan Department of Agriculture's Gypsy Moth Suppression Program, and the many private companies who provide lake herbicide treatments for the problem of nuisance plant growth.
MNFI has provided MLPA/MLW with maps which we include in our spring Loon Ranger Packets in order to more clearly pinpoint information as to the locations of loon nests and other features on loon nesting lakes. This information is then sent back to MNFI to help them and, though them, other agencies to better provide for habitat protection of Michigan's threatened and endangered species, including loons.
The Loon Survey, a loon observation and evaluation program written and conducted for many years by Biologist Dr. Bill Robinson of Northern Michigan University, and also a long-time MLPA Board of Directors member, has been another program for which we have provided information and assistance on an ongoing basis. Since Dr. Robinson's retirement, the Survey is now being conducted through Lake Superior State University on a yearly basis. MLPA/MLW continues to assist with helping to provide contact information on loon lakes throughout the state, and several of our Area Coordinators and Loon Rangers are directly involved with helping with the Survey.
Last May, we also provided information to a study being conducted by Damon McCormick, Joe Kaplan and Keren Tischler through the Biodiversity Research Institute to determine the levels of PCB and mercury concentrations that may be in the systems of Michigan's wildlife, including the loon population, and to evaluate the cumulative impacts of these substances on aquatic ecosystems.
MLPA/MLW and the Wildlife Recovery Association have been working together more and more, doing programs all over the state, including (and as well as) publicity, education, recruiting new members, and helping to get the word out about loons and our Loon Association, and WRA as well. We are distributing many brochures, and talking with lots of folks about our work and the wonderful birds we love so much. New memberships are coming in regularly from these presentations, and that is very encouraging! Requests for programs (both jointly and separately) are increasing, and as with other parts of MLPA/MLW, new ideas are flourishing! Joe Rogers, Raptor Wildlife Biologist and Director of WRA, is also an MLPA/MLW Board member and Area Coordinator. During the summer months, Joe works in the Upper Peninsula on the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Program.
The Wildlife Recovery Association cared for an injured loon found in January this past winter. This was a time consuming, at times difficult (but very rewarding , they say) task for Joe and Barb Rogers. The loon recovered very well, thanks to their excellent care, and was released on Thursday, March 30, at a small migration lake where she could be watched until her new wing feathers finished growing in where damage from a fish-line had cut in deeply. Thank you, Joe and Barb, for all your hard work, for giving that little loon a chance, and for giving me, and others too, the opportunity to help care for her and to learn from her. And thank you, too, to Board member Luanne Jaruzel, who watched the loon on the lake, trying to make sure that she stayed safe until she could take wing once again for the northern lakes. As it was, and as sometimes happens in Nature, the story ended differently than was hoped, with an unexpected sudden and very fierce early spring storm against which the little loon's strong spirit to survive and our efforts to help her were powerless. But we will not soon forget her; she was a wonderful little bird.