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Common Loon

Common Loon Migration Update: April 16, 1998

Today's Update Includes:

Today's Migration News & Data
Though our migration update isn't scheduled until next week, the loons have decided to migrate in full force this week!

Watch for a brief update again next Thursday, April 23rd as scheduled. This migration map will also be updated at that time.

Winter and Breeding Range
Map by
Macalester College

Latest Migration Map
As of April 16, 1998

Old Faces Return
Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Seney, Michigan

"Loons are steadily arriving at Seney - some old faces. Only one bird missing so far," Joe Kaplan reported on Monday, April 13.

Imagine, all within 6 days of the first loon's arrival! (See "Eleven Year Old Loon Returns to Seney".) We asked Joe and Keren to let us know when the final, "missing" loon was back. This loon has been at Seney for 8 years, after all, so certainly would be missed. Kaplan wrote yesterday:

"This morning I was looking over the track record of the 'missing' loon. He was a male and was banded back in 1990 on D-pool. (The female on that pool had been banded in 1989.) He didn't come back to D-pool in 1991 and instead went to a non-breeding territory--then disappeared in late May.

"In spring of 1992, he came back to D- pool and paired with the female. But their nest failed on 25 May and he was last seen on 1 June. Two days later, on the morning 3 June, the female was seen with a different, unbanded male. They began nest construction on 5 June and were incubating eggs on 12 June. But this nest also failed later that season.

"Well, with that history in mind, yesterday afternoon we figured we should check D-pool--and there he was! What a great day."

How do the biologists know the individual loons so well?

"Of the estimated 23 loons at Seney, we have 18 banded adults. We watch for the coded color bands on their legs and we know the individuals that way. The majority hold breeding territories. Plus last year we had 2 adult loons return and visit the refuge that had been banded as chicks."

Banded Loon From Minnesota Discovered in Florida
"The highlights for us our last week or so in Florida was our first banding recovery from a adult loon from Minnesota. The loon was banded last summer in the Grand Rapids area on Pokegamma Lake. It was recovered late winter from Mexico Beach, Florida in the panhandle. It was pretty exciting. It was only banded last year as an adult - so at it was at least 3 years old."

Challenge Question # 7
"Besides the fact that the loon was in adult plumage, how else do the biologists know the loon in Minnesota was at least 3 years old?"

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:

1. Address an e-mail message to:

2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 7

3. In the body of the your message, answer the question above.

The Next Loon Migration Update will Be Posted on April 23, 1998.

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