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Wildlife & Ecosystems

Loons of the Canadian Prairie

What can we learn about the loons of Louisiana’s coast when we follow them 2,000 miles north to their summer breeding grounds?

Previously Funded Expedition

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Some of these loons make an annual migration of over 4,000 miles round trip between their winter feeding grounds and their summer breeding grounds.

Animals that are high up in the food chain—like loons, which eat fish and shrimp—can tell us a lot about what’s going on in their environment.

loons-science-research-tagging

Volunteers will tag loons.

Chronic exposure to petroleum can harm loons and other species and may lead to death from starvation, disease, or predation. By studying the loons in their summer breeding grounds, researchers can get a better idea of how the oil spill may have an impact not only on the loons that lived through it, but also on future generations.

You’ll also get to participate in a brand-new aspect of this study: recording and analyzing loon vocalizations to get to know individual loons and the whole species better. With more information on the calls loons use to indicate identity and aggression, researchers can figure out how individual loons choose their breeding territory. Then they can work to conserve critical loon landscapes.

About the research area

Saskatchewan, Canada, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

This is a summary:

The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Jim
Paruk
Director, Center for Loon Conservation at the Biodiversity Research Institute

ABOUT Jim Paruk

Dr. Jim Paruk is investigating how loons are faring on the Louisiana shore of the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as well as how they are 2,000 miles north in Saskatchewan, Canada at their summer breeding grounds.

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