More loons injured

RAY BROOK – The total number of loons that were reported injured since Nov. 23 is up to 13, according to Dr. Nina Schoch, coordinator of the Biodiversity Research Institute’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation in Ray Brook.

Schoch had previously reported that at least one common loon and four red-throated loons were blown down in a windstorm on Nov. 23.

Now Schoch is now aware of nine red-throated and four common loons that were blown down in that storm or perhaps subsequent foul weather.

“We had a really bad windstorm, so my theory is that they were flying, and the wind blew them down, or they had trouble fighting the wind or something like that,” Schoch said. “It’s not unusual for birds to get blown down in the wind.”

Schoch said her tally of injured birds includes reports to area wildlife rehabilitators and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

She said three of the loons were reported in the Wilmington area last weekend, one at the Cascade Lakes and one near Malone. Schoch said some of the birds were determined to be healthy and released, one died and two were euthanized. Another was seriously injured and will have to be euthanized.

What is especially unusual about these recent reports of injured loons is the number of red-throated ones.

“This is the most red-throated loons we’ve ever had in any one point in time,” Schoch said. “We’ve always had like one or two a year.”

The loons found in the Adirondacks during the warmer months are common loons. Red-throated loons live further north in Canada. The red-throated loons found here are migrating through this area on the way to the Atlantic Coast in the south.

“Normally, they’re flying over,” Schoch said. “Occasionally, they’ll be seen on Lake Champlain here and there.”

Schoch said red-throated loons are much smaller than common ones. In the winter, they have gray and white speckling, a gray head and white neck. They don’t have a red throat as they do in the warmer months.

“They’re very pretty birds,” Schoch said. “They have very subtle coloration, but they don’t have the white squares on their back like the commons do. They have more speckles.”

Schoch said that if people do see injured loons it is best to report them to the DEC or a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. People can also report them to Schoch at 888-749-5666 ext. 145.