The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteers to help monitor the loon population in Becker, Otter Tail, Aitkin, Crow Wing and Itasca counties in northern Minnesota. Volunteers observe loons for one morning during the June 24 to July 4 monitoring period.
For the past 23 years, hundreds of volunteer observers have helped the DNR gather information about common loon numbers on more than 600 lakes throughout the state.
“The loon survey offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while being part of a team that monitors the health and welfare of Minnesota’s state bird,” said Christine Herwig, DNR northwest region nongame specialist. “The results allow the DNR to detect long-term changes in loon population health and help assess impacts of events like the Gulf oil spill and ongoing lakeshore development.”
Volunteers can choose one (or more) of the following lakes to count the number of adult and juvenile loons and report these observations to the DNR for data analysis. The time commitment is two to four hours per lake. Surveys must be done between 5 a.m. and noon on one day during the monitoring period.
Volunteers are asked to complete one or more assigned lakes and consider participating in the program for multiple years. Surveys can be conducted from shore or by boat or canoe. The DNR will provide detailed instructions, training materials, maps and a data form.
“The survey wouldn’t be possible without volunteers,” Herwig said. “I’d like to thank all of our volunteers and hope they consider helping us again with this important survey by giving another morning to the loons,” she said.
Anyone interested in surveying in Aitkin and Crow Wing counties should contact Karen McLennan at 218-203-4352 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Aitkin and Crow Wing County survey lakes include:
Aitkin/Crow Wing counties: Spruce, Laurel, Pine, Hamlet, Little Hamlet, Marguerite and Berglund lakes.
Anyone interested in surveying in Becker or Otter Tail counties should contact Sherry Seado at 218-308-2620 or email@example.com. Becker and Otter Tail County survey lakes include:
Becker County: Blom’s, Cotton, Eagen, Height of Land, Howe, Ice Cracking, St Clair and Unnamed (T139, R40, S6).
Otter Tail County: Anna, Annie (Aunie), Crane, Crystal, Dane, East Lost, Eddy, Fiske, Heilberger, Kempfer, Larson, Leeper, Maine, Moen, Mud, North Turtle, Otter Tail, Peterson, Pickerel, Round, Second Silver, South Stang/Glorvigan, Sharp, South Nelson, Spring, Sproul, Tamarack, Volen, Wall, West Lost, Zorns and a number of unnamed lakes.
Anyone interested in surveying in Itasca County should contact Ashley Toonstra at 218-328-4416 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Itasca County survey lakes include:
Itasca County: Baldy, Ethel, Forest, Gunn, Hole in Wall, Horseshoe, Johnson 31-687, Little Ranier, Moon, No Mans, Orange, Pear, Pickerel, Pine 31-478, Plantation, Plum, Ranier, Snow, South Smith, Three Island, Wabana, West Smith and 2 unnamed lakes (31-498 and 31-661).
For more information on Minnesota’s loon monitoring program or to view a map of where these lakes are located, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/mlmp_state.html.
For more information about loons or the loon survey, contact Christine Herwig at 218-308-2641 or email@example.com.
Visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/birds/commonloon.html. for information about common loons.