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Loon Rescues

LPC staff are not trained as animal rehabilitators, and the majority of our efforts are concentrated at the population level rather than at individual loons. It is LPC’s policy to not interfere with sibling rivalry, territorial conflicts between loons, or other natural processes that affect loon survival.

However, when a member of the public calls with a loon in distress as a result of human activities, we feel compelled to come to its assistance if that can safely be done. Sadly, many of these rescue efforts end in humane euthanasia at a veterinarian’s office because loons are notoriously hard to rehabilitate after an illness or injury. For this reason, LPC staff spend much of their time educating the public about human impacts on loons to avert potential problems before they happen. In cases where rehabilitation of a sick or injured loon is possible, LPC works with a number of wildlife rehabilitators to nurse loons back to health and release them back into the wild.

LPC Senior Biologist John Cooley rescues an iced-in loon in Stoddard, NH in January 2016. This is just one of 17 loons that were successfully rescued and released in 2016. Photo courtesy of Brian Reilly.

A rescued loon is being released on the ocean after spending a few days at Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center in Freedom, Maine. 2016 was a record year for loon rescues. LPC staff and volunteers rescued three times as many loons as were rescued in previous years. Photo courtesy of Terry Heitz/Avian Haven.

A loon is being released on Lee's Pond by LPC Senior Biologist John Cooley. This was one of 5 loons that was rescued and released in 2015. We know from leg bands fitted during the 2015 rescue that this loon was actually rescued again in 2016, when it became tangled in fishing line on Lake Tarleton, NH. Not a lucky loon! Photo courtesy of Harry Vogel.


Read a first-hand account of a rescue and release.