The Most Effective Ways to Help Loons on Jack Lake this Summer
Thursday July 20, 2017
Did you know that about 95% of the world’s Common Loon population breeds in Canada. Summer is a critical period for Common Loons. At this time, loons are incubating eggs and raising their vulnerable young. The results of Bird Studies Canada’s Canadian Lakes Loon Survey indicate that the number of chicks produced per loon pair has been decreasing over time. Help and respect from people during the breeding season is particularly important.
Here are a few simple things youcan do to directly benefit loons at your lake:
Give loons and other wildlifespace. Giving loons and other wildlife a wideberth when you’re boating helps them remain focused on important behaviourslike feeding and caring for young. Rearing up, vocalizing, flattening the body,or coming off the nest are signs that a loon has been disturbed. If you noticeany of these signs, move back.
Provide shelter along theshoreline. Leave or add native wetlandvegetation along your shoreline, as well as a border of unmown, untrimmedvegetation above the water’s edge. Loons rely on these sheltered areas whenthey are nesting, and to shelter their chicks. More importantly, naturalshorelines and shallows are important breeding habitat and shelter for loons’main food source: fish.
Dispose of garbage correctly. Making sure plastics, fishing line, and tackle are properly stored anddisposed of prevents loons and other wildlife (e.g., turtles, waterbirds) frombecoming seriously injured or entangled. Keeping food scraps contained avoidsattracting nest scavengers that prey on eggs and chicks.
Help other lake-goers helploons. Joining your lake association andsharing information with neighbours about loons and conservation are excellentways to multiply your positive impact. Distributing our new poster, "Top Six Ways You Can Help Loons,” is a great first step.
There are also more generalactions you can take to contribute to the health of loons and lakes acrossCanada.
Monitor loons with the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey. Volunteering one day a month inJune, July, and August is all it takes. Observations submitted to the surveyallow us to track the reproductive success of loons over time. Results alsohelp us understand overall trends in lake health, because loons are effectiveecosystem indicators, meaning their level of health reflects the conditions oftheir habitat.
Note: Volunteers from the Jack Lake Association havebeen involved in the Canada Lakes Loon Survey since 1982.
Support policies to reducegreenhouse gases and air pollution. Research hasshown that loon reproductive success is negatively impacted by high acidity(caused by acid rain) and mercury pollution in lake water. Acid rain andmercury are deposited in lakes as a result of air pollution from fossil fuelcombustion and from industrial activities including electricity generation,mining and smelting, pulp and paper production, and waste incineration. Changesin our lake temperatures, caused by greenhouse gases, increase the mobilizationof heavy metals into our water column and food chains.
Thank you for taking action toconserve this species, which depends on us and the lakes we share!