Is our beloved Canadian loon in danger?
The loon is a vital indicator of our lake's health. It's important to know how we can help our Canadian iconic species survive.
My first time to Deer Lake was some 20 years ago, and what I remember most was the number of loons on the lake. Not just one or two loons, but many loons, even swimming together. When my husband and I purchased our lot 7 years, our first night on the property was a day in early May. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we had a tent and our two dogs. When it was time to go to bed, it was very cold and very dark. We hunkered down in the tent, and the dogs fell asleep immediately, but my husband and I laid there wide awake listening to all the sounds of the forest. We figured it was going to be a very long night. And then we heard them, that beautiful call of the loons. Back and forth, they called to other. It was so beautiful, so soothing. It was then that both my husband and I knew that everything was going to be okay.
Like many of us on the lake, we anxiously await the arrival of the loons. You've probably also noticed that over the past several years the loon population is declining on our lake, and on many lakes throughout Ontario. According to the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey (CLLS), our beloved loon may be headed for trouble. The CLLS has been monitoring the nesting success of the common loon since 1981. In reviewing the data from the last four decades, it’s been determined that loons are experiencing problems and their numbers are declining.
What can we do to help?
Make our shorelines safer - Let native wetland plants grow along your shoreline. Natural waterfronts provide shelter and food for both fish and loons.
Slow down - When approaching the shore in your boat, slow down and keep your wake to a minimum as wakes can wash out nests or separate young chicks from their parents.
Keep our lake clean - Make efforts to reduce your environmental footprint. Use less fossil fuels – climate change raises lake temperatures, which causes more heavy metals to accumulate in fish and other wildlife. Do not add pollutants, such as household hazardous wastes, to our lake Ensure no gas spills into the water when filling boats and watercraft. Pump out your septic tank every couple of years.
Get involved - Participate in loon or lake monitoring by joining the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey. If you are interested in helping loons while monitoring their environments, visit birdscanada.org/loons and become a participant for the 2019 survey season.