Friday, July 31, 2015

The Loon That Started It All

As October draws near, when I begin to see the return of the Loons from the north, I reflect about what got me interested in studying these birds to begin with.

This is the first banded bird I would encounter at the causeway last year. I found this bird on December 29th. After contacting several folks, including Dr. Spitzer, the bands would be tracked to Kevin Kenow, a biologist in Wisconsin who studies Loons and their migration patterns.

Here's a link to this year's Loon Migration Data.

Hearing back from Mr. Kenow, I would find out that this bird was banded on July 16, 2013 on Clearwater Lake in Crow Wing County, Minnesota.

How exciting! I have found banded birds in the past, but never a loon.... and once I started talking to Dr. Spitzer about the lack of research on Loons in the southeast, I thought- well, why not? I live at a major wintering spot for them. The information I could get would be extremely useful.

So, begin a new adventure.

The male above was not the only banded bird I would locate. This is another bird that I would find in my photos that I didn't realize was banded when I took the pictures:

I would find out that this was another bird banded by Mr. Kenow. A male banded on August 23, 2011 on West Fox Lake in Crow Wing County, Minnesota- the same county the first bird was banded in.

Now I'm hooked.

Talking to Dr. Spitzer about doing research was also very encouraging. I have always had an interest in Loons and knowing that I could contribute to their conservation was enough for me to put forth my free time for this.

So, these were the two male Loons that started the passion. I hope they pass through again this year to say hello.

I hope to blog throughout the winter this year about the data I am collecting and what I am learning about these magnificent birds.

Until next time.