On December 14th, the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation received a report of an iced-in loon on First Lake in Herkimer County. On December 15th, ACLC staff and volunteers responded to attempt to save the bird. The rescue team included Cody Sears, Jay Locke, Gary Lee, Don Andrews, and Kurt Gardner.
The small pool of water in the ice on First Lake was enough for the loon to swim and dive, but not a large enough area to take off. Loons require a “runway” of open water to gather the necessary speed to get their heavy bodies airborne. As the hole in the ice grew smaller due to cold temperatures, it became more likely the vulnerable loon would get attacked by an eagle or other predator. To save the loon, it was necessary to take quick action.
The rescuers captured the loon using a combination of techniques including a pole net and gill net. It was a juvenile in good health, and was subsequently released to open water to get another chance at migration. Juvenile loons often stay on Adirondack lakes after their parents migrate, until decreasing day-length and freezing temperatures encourage them to seek open water on the ocean.
To report a loon in distress, contact the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation by calling (518)354-8636 and email a photo of the loon to email@example.com.
For more information about the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and its loon conservation efforts, visit their website or contact the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 354-8636.
Photo: ACLC staff rescues loon from First Lake provided.