Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cheers in the New Year

We wanted to take a moment and wish you all a safe and happy New Years. Thank you to all of our volunteers, supporters, colleagues, and friends who help keep LoonWatch and loon conservation vibrant and progressive.

Take care,


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Could Your Birds and Your Oil Be Coming From The Same Place?

When it comes to assessing the true levels of impacts of industrial activities on wildlife, including birds, conservation science has a rather poor track record. Yes, we have the occasional estimate of the number of birds killed from an oil spill or at a radio tower or from a disease outbreak or poisoning event.

All of these are the easy ones.

But what about the hidden impacts from human activities that change vast areas of the earth’s landscape?

It was exactly this question that we decided to answer for a place identified by the U.N. as one of the 100 global hotspots of environmental change—the Boreal Forest of northeastern Alberta underlain by what may be the world’s dirtiest supply of oil in the form of underground tar deposits. Almost all of the oil derived from those deposits is exported for those of us in the U.S. to use for driving our cars and flying commercial aircraft.

Known by industry as the oil sands or tar sands, the future of the Boreal Forest of northeastern Alberta is at the crux of a debate about how much society is willing to give up in return for the quick financial gain represented by unfettered expansion of the tar sands industry.
Already previous work has demonstrated that there is virtual certainty that we will lose the Woodland Caribou of the region. Over the last year we worked on an analysis of the cumulative impacts of current and future tar sands industrial activity on the birds of Alberta’s Boreal Forest. You can click here to see the entire report but here are a few of the key findings.

• Tar sands deposits are underneath about 35 million acres of Boreal forests and wetlands that in pristine condition would support between 22 million and 170 million breeding birds—birds that spend the winter in the backyards, parks, and bays of southern Canada, the U.S., and beyond;
• The Peace-Athabasca Delta just downstream from the tar sands deposits is a globally important wetland complex that regularly hosts hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds;
• Strip mining of tar sands deposits is projected to destroy 740,000 acres of Boreal forests and wetlands and cause the loss of up to 3.6 million adult birds and future productivity amounting to 72 million young;
• Extracting oil from most of the 35 million acres of tar sands deposits will require a vast spiderweb of pipelines, roads, compressor stations and other infrastructure. This will eventually destroy more habitat than strip mining and is projected to result in the loss of 14.5 million adult birds. Fragmentation effects could results in the further loss of up to 76 million adult birds;
• Tailings ponds used in the tar sands industrial process are likely killing thousands of birds annually;
• Boreal birds and their habitats in northeastern Alberta and adjoining regions of Saskatchewan are being negatively impacted by airborne and waterborne pollutants and toxins from tar sands industrial operations though we were not able to quantitatively estimate this impact;
• Total cumulative losses of birds from the Boreal Forest of northeastern Alberta as a result of tar sands industrial operations could be as high as 166 million birds.

Next time you fill your gas tank up consider whether you are draining down the reservoir of birds from the Great Bird Nursery—the same birds that you have come to expect will always be there for you to enjoy when they return south from the Boreal.

Click here to see the full report: Danger in the Nursery

What can you do? Go to:

“Save our Boreal Birds” petition:

“Save our Greatest Bird Nursery” by NRDC:

This cross-posting from Boreal Songbird Initiative Boreal Blog by Jeff Wells. The full blog posting is at:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

News Release: California bans Lead Ammunition in Condor Country--Could Wisconsin do the Same for Loons?


For Immediate Release, December 3, 2008

Lead-Free: Settlement Protects California Condors From Toxic Heavy Metal Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council Help Extend Lead-Ammunition Ban to Protect Iconic Birds
LOS ANGELES— A settlement announced today between environmentalists and the State of California will strengthen protections forCalif ornia condors by placing limits on the use of ammunition containing lead throughout the species’ range. Lead ammunition is a significant threat to the big birds because they are likely to scavenge prey that has been shot with the heavy metal. Studies show that the cumulative effect of ingesting lead, a process called bioaccumulation, causes reproductive problems and ultimately death for this majestic and endangered bird of prey. Recent reports show a similar problem for grizzly bears in the northern Rockies.
After the Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and other groups filed suit, the state Legislature responded by providing substantial protections for the bird through the Ridley-Tree Condor Conservation Act, which limits the use of lead ammunition throughout much of the condors’ range. Today’s settlement with the California Department of Fish and Game and the California Fish and Game Comm ission extends these protections by eliminating lead ammunition for depredation hunting. The Commission has also agreed to consider prescribing a similar ban on lead ammunition for the hunting of small mammals that are part of the condors’ diet, such as jackrabbits and opossums. The settlement still requires court approval.
“We’re happy that the State of California is taking this positive step to further protect this iconic species,” said Adam Keats, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately, many other species, as well as people, are harmed by lead ammunition every day. So we look forward to working with the state to further these protections and get the lead out of all ammunition.”
“We are all aware of the danger lead poses to humans,” said Damon Nagami, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’ve taken the lead out of paint. We’ve taken it out of gas. The science co nfirms the same threat to condors, so it was time to offer the same kinds of protection for one of this state’s best conservation stories, the endangered California condor.”
California Condors
North America’s largest species of land birds nearly went extinct in the 1980s and ’90s. Thanks to reintroduction, small populations can now be found near the Grand Canyon; in northern Baja California, Mexico; and in western California. More information is available at:www.savethecondors.org and http://www.nrdc.org/wild life/habitat/esa/california03.asp.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national nonprofit conservation organization with 200,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing. www.nrdc.org

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Getting a Lift: Loons have landed in Texas

This morning three loons completed their cross-continental migration from Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico. What takes most loons months took these three just two hours—aboard a plane.

Raptor Education Group Inc. (REGI) in Antigo WI was treating the three loons, including the female adult loon from Muskellunge Lake (mentioned below) and two juveniles, for lead poisoning from ingested lead tackle. One of the juveniles also had a deadly bacteria, type E botulism. In their condition, migration would have been out of the question this late in the year. But Marge Gibson and the team at REGI have rehabilitated the loons to where they can be released into the wild and where they have a second chance at living.

At 10 AM the loons boarded a plane in Wausau and by noon they were in Texas. A biologist from US Fish and Wildlife Service brought the loons from the airport to a wildlife refuge on the boarder of Texas and Louisiana. The report that just came in is that they are diving with gusto, calling back and forth, and already feeding.

This story brings hope during a time of international instability and fear. It shows what can happen when people come together. Congrats to all the people who made this possible—citizens, rescue crew, pilot, REGI, biologists, and anyone I’ve missed. BIG THANKS from LoonWatch!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Loon Rescued on Muskellunge Lake, Undergoing Treatment for Lead Poisening

Each year, loons in danger are reported. Some times the loon is able to work its way out of whatever problem it is in--tangled in fishing line, stuck with a lure, or entrapped in other things such as a plastic bag. But if a loon has swallowed lead tackle, there's no way for it to help itself. One lead split shot sinker is lethal, and the loon is helpless as it looses function over its muscles and ability to swim and dive. Loon rescues are complicated and not every loon reported can be helped. It takes a special group of people--typically going above and beyond their regular work duties--to pull off the kind of rescue that happened at Muskellunge Lake in Wisconsin last week.

As the loon became trapped in the ice, concerned citizens, Tom and Ruth Cerull and Bob and Susan Hodkiewicz, tried opening up a take-off strip for the loon by using an aerator. When the aerator wouldn't stay going, they sounded the alarm. The Pickerel Fire and Rescue responded and they did it in a second. They took the lead and Marge Gibson from Raptor Education Group Inc. came to bring the loon back to her rehabilitation center in Antigo, WI. The above picture captures the moment just after rescue. Once at the rehabilitation center, Gibson was able to confirm that the loon had lead poisening. Even if Tom and Bob had been able to open up the ice, it's unlikely the loon could have flown because of its condition.

The rescued female loon is 9 lbs. and stands a good chance at recovery as long as the lead sinker can be removed. The report from Gibson is that she has a rather large sinker in her stomach that is high up in the digestive system (shown on the x-ray). She has a high blood lead level. The only hope is to get the lead out of her before she becomes toxic. Gibson is trying mineral oil to get it to pass, but surgery might be required.

Marge Gibson and Raptor Education Group Inc. rehabilitate loons, swans, eagles and many other bird species that have accidently eaten lead tackle while feeding. Several trumpeter swans and two other loon are at the center right now undergoing treatment for lead poisening. For those of us who don't see the devestation in person, it can be easy to forget that lead tackle is toxic and kills wildlife. The hope for these birds is not just to recover, but for anglers to change their ways and use alternatives to lead tackle. There's many ways to get involved and help to promote lead-free tackle in your community and nation wide . Contact Loonwatch at mailto:loonwatch@northland.edu for more information.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Loon in Downtown Chicago

Do you ever woner where the loons are on their migration journey? In 1998 the USGS's did a Common Loon Migration Study. This tracked five loons from lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin on their journey south to the Atlantic Ocean. From this, we know that loons usually stage on the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Michigan, late into the fall before continuing south.

On Sunday, November 16th we received a report of a loon in Chicago. This loon was in Belmont Harbor for the day, and was even photographed! See photos.

If you are around southern Lake Michigan, this is a great time to be out loon watching!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Reminder: STO Loon Research Proposals Due Dec. 5, 2008

LoonWatch is still accepting proposals for its 22nd annual award for research conducted in North America on any loon (Gavia) species. To apply for cash awards up to $3,000, a proposed research project and curriculum vitae must be received by December 5th, 2008. Projects should be for the 2009 calendar year. The winner(s) will be notified by January 30th, 2009.

The award is named for biologist Sigurd T. Olson, whose 1952 paper with co-author William H. Marshall, “The Common Loon in Minnesota,” continues to be cited as one of the premier baseline reports on the species.

Research on behavior, breeding ecology, migration, winter ecology, toxicology and evolution will be considered. Proposals addressing human impacts to loons will be given special consideration.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Loon Migration

One way we track migration is through observation along common migratory paths. The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory keeps a daily blog of all the birds that come through, including common and red throated loons. Check it out!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Loon Research Grant

LoonWatch accepting grant proposals

ASHLAND, Wis. –LoonWatch, a program of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College, is accepting proposals for the 2008 Sigurd T. Olson Loon Research Award. The award is named for biologist Sigurd T. Olson, whose 1952 paper with co-author William H. Marshall, “The Common Loon in Minnesota,” continues to be cited as one of the premier baseline reports on the species.

Since 1986, the loon research award has provided funding for original research that leads to better understanding and management of loon populations. LoonWatch will accept proposals for research conducted in North America on any Gavia species. Research on behavior, breeding ecology, migration, winter ecology, toxicology and evolution will be considered. Proposals addressing human impacts to loons will be given special consideration.

The award will be designated for research that will be conducted during the 2009 calendar year. The maximum grant is $3,000. A portion of the award is funded by the North American Loon Research Endowment. The proposal deadline is December 5, 2008 and the award winner will be notified by January 30, 2009.

LoonWatch, now in its 30th year of coordinating volunteers to monitor loon activity and reproductive success, is one of the many programs at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. Since its founding in 1972, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College has facilitated solutions to environmental problems in the north country through education, research, and citizen involvement. The Institute's namesake, Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982), is one of North America's most beloved nature writers and an influential conservationists of the 20th century. In 1974 he won the John Burroughs Medal for his book, “Wilderness Days.” To obtain more information about the Institute, call (715) 682-1223 or visit our website at: www.northland.edu/soei.

Loon Apprecition Week Poster Contest

Photographers invited to submit images for Loon Appreciation Week poster

ASHLAND, Wis.—The LoonWatch program at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute is seeking entries for the 11th annual Loon Appreciation Week poster contest. The contest is open to original photography of any loon species. The winning entry will appear on more than 10,000 posters that will be distributed nationally to highlight Loon Appreciation Week, May 3-9, 2009. Full credit will be given to the photographer.

Posters will be available to the general public, schools, libraries, community centers, natural resource agencies and environmental organizations. The poster contributes to LoonWatch’s mission to promote and protect Common Loons and their aquatic habitats through education, monitoring and research.

The contest winner will be notified within a month of the submission deadline. In return for the use of the winning image, the photographer will receive prominent credit on the poster itself, 50 copies of the poster and a cash award in the amount of $300 USD.

Images must be submitted in digital format of 320 DPI or higher resolution with an image size of 11”x 14” or 16”x 20”. Limit five submissions per person. No other forms of artwork will be accepted. Competitive entries will be unique photos unlike past posters. For more information on LoonWatch or to view past winning poster photos, visit the Web site at www.northland.edu/loonwatch

Interested photographers should contact LoonWatch for an entry form and submission guidelines at (715) 682-1223, loonwatch@northland.edu or write to LoonWatch Poster, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College, Ashland, WI 54806. Submissions must be postmarked by Friday, September 19, 2008.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our First Chick!

From Loon Ranger Pat Schwai
Cochran Lake (Price County) is pleased to announce the arrival our of first-ever loon chick!!! I am ecstatic!

Baby hatched sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. today (July 16th). Parent and chick were off floating about 300 yards from the nest. The other parent was still tending the nest as of 3:00 p.m. Initially, lots of wailing back and forth which lessened within an hour. Baby has already had a swim and a little bit of diving but needed serious warming up after that.

Our best guess is that we lost the first nest on June 14th. Six loons were socializing on the 17th (but way one the north end) and on the 23rd, a resident reported new nesting activity on the far south end.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Opportunity for Citizen Scientists on Wind Farms

Forward Energy Wind Farm & Wildlife:
Investigating the Impact ofWind Turbines on
Migrating Birds & Bats
Hourly Pay - $10/HR
When: July 15 - November 15
Responsibilities will include:
• Dedicate at least 1 morning per week (Approx. 4 Month Duration)
• Visiting and searching turbines located across southern Fond Du Lac and northern
Dodge Counties (with specific, assigned routes to minimize travel time)
• Arrive at first turbine site approximately 15-30 minutes before dawn
• Search within designated transects and collect dead birds and bats
• Time commitment per morning ranges between 1-3hrs, depending upon site(s)
and total drive time
• Preference given towards those who can provide own transportation (mileage
reimbursement available)
• Training and necessary equipment provided; great opportunity to participate in
an interesting and valuable study
Contact Steven Grodsky for more information:
Graduate Research Assistant: UW - Madison
Department of Forestry andWildlife Ecology
Russell Labs
1630 Linden Drive
Madison,WI 53706
Phone Number: 973-222-7380

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

News from County Line Lake (Sawyer Co)

This message was sent to LoonWatch from Cathy Gagliardi:

It is with great sadness to bring you this update, as our nesting pair of Loons have abandoned their 2 eggs. Something must have totally spooked her as she left the nest and never went back.
Our neighbors were at our cabin over the 4th (while we were in CO) and told us they saw both Loons out in front of our cabin on Sunday (6th) and then last Thurs (10th) when I arrived, I saw both of them too.
Friday morning, there were 3 Loons out front and we had a feeling something was clearly wrong so we ventured back into her bay on Sat. - sure enough, there lay 2 completely intact eggs but hot to the touch and they stunk badly. I can imagine being exposed to the elements for that long had some serious affects.

With our lake down, she had gotten so creative with her nest and constructed a mud platform on one of the bogs in the back bay. The edges of the nest were higher than the bowl so her eggs could never roll out and she was surrounded by water and weeds. If the time-table was correct for incubating (around 28 days) those eggs were due to hatch this past week so all she had to do was stay for a couple more days but something must have happened.

The timid loons don’t easily tolerate close disturbances from curious onlookers in boats and canoes, and a Loon frightened from its nest exposes the eggs to predators that constantly watch for opportunity, or exposes the eggs to the baking hot sun. However, if frightened too many times (or so badly) they will abandon their nest so this is very disheartening that this could be exactly what happened. If she was spooked by some form of wildlife I suspect I would have found egg shells or no eggs at all.
The "Stay Back" sign was put in place and I believe all of us have been so diligent about not disturbing her but this might be a good reminder to be sure to let our guests & children know this too. Post a sign on your fridge or somewhere...but we need to get this word out during nesting season. The Loons give their tremolo call when stressed or scared, so if it's not a soaring Eagle that they are stressed about, it most likely is us humans.

On a good note, while back in the Loon bay, I observed a pair of Sandhill Cranes....WOW, they are huge and I believe this is a first-time-ever for this specie to pick our lake for nesting. I did not see any chicks although I was sure hoping there might be one or two in between them when I took a few pictures but when I downloaded them and zoomed in, all I see is Ma & Pa.

I regret taking down the "Stay Back" Loon sign now, due to this specie being as skittish as our Loons - so please everyone, let's all stay back from that Loon/Sandhill bay and hopefully our Cranes will have a successful nest.

I hope this finds all of you well and I'll post some pics on our website soon.

Great News for Boreal Birds...including Loons!

This week Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced a landmark commitment to protect 225,000 square kilometers – 55 million acres – of Boreal Forest in the northern area of that province. This move will protect the habitat for as many as 300 million Boreal birds - most of which migrate across the U.S. and are greatly appreciated by millions of Western Hemisphere birders.
McGuinty's pledge is exactly what the fairly new "Boreal Songbird Initiative" has consistently advocated to Canadian government leaders. Premier McGuinty's pledge also reforms Ontario's Mining Act; implements new land use planning; and accommodates First Nations' interests.
In addition to being the essential breeding area for enormous numbers of birds, Canada's Boreal Forest is an important carbon sink that helps mitigate the effects of global warming; is a refuge for some of the world's largest herds of caribou, plus grizzlies, and wolves; and a vital Aboriginal home land. It is inspiring to see a Canadian leader with the foresight and conviction to protect this vast and unique natural resource. Wouldn't it be a welcome change to see similar leadership in the U.S.?
You can learn about the Boreal Songbird Initiative here: http://www.borealbirds.org/ .

The Senior Scientist for BSI is Jeff Wells, formerly head of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program in the U.S. Jeff has recently published a very important book that may be of interest to bird lovers - Birder's Conservation Handbook - 100 North American Birds at Risk. As the name implies, this detailed and well-written reference summarizes population information and threats for many, if not all of the most seriously at-risk species across the entire continent.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

LoonWatch awards funds for botulism E research

ASHLAND, Wis.–The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College is pleased to announce Common Coast Research & Conservation (CCRC) as the recipient of the 2007 Sigurd T. Olson Loon Research Award for its proposal “Evaluating the scope and scale of common loon mortalities associated with botulism E outbreaks in northern Lake Michigan.” CCRC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and protection of common loons and their aquatic habitat. The $2000 award will fund one year of the project and is administered by the LoonWatch program.

“Our research committee felt that this study was long overdue and that it could shed light on changes in local, specific breeding populations,” said Stacy Schaefer, environmental education coordinator for the LoonWatch program. “This project will generate previously unknown information about a significant mortality factor for common loons, and encourages cooperation between citizens and the agencies and groups that will handle future botulism E outbreaks.”

The proposed study will be led by researchers Joseph Kaplan, Damon McCormick and Keren Tischler and the goal of the project is to gain a better understanding of the number of water bird mortalities associated with outbreaks of type E botulism bacteria in northern Lake Michigan. CCRC will develop a uniform method of surveying beaches where large numbers of dead birds have washed ashore and build a network of volunteers and agencies to aid in conducting these surveys. The data collected during the surveys will then be compiled and used to determine the extent of the problem and its potential effects on the common loon population.

Although water bird die-offs due to ingestion of the bacteria have been recorded in the lower Great Lakes since the 1960’s, the frequency and extent of the problem has increased sharply in recent years due to the introduction of exotic species to the Great Lakes and a rise in average water temperature. Botulism E outbreaks are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 50,000 water birds since 1999, including some 15,000 common loons. During the field portion of their research Kaplan and the others also will collect and archive loon feather samples for use in ongoing research related to mercury and other stable isotopes. Since 1986, the Loon Research Award has provided funding for original research that leads to better understanding and management of loon populations. This award program is named after biologist Sigurd T. Olson, whose 1952 paper with William H. Marshall, “The Common Loon in Minnesota,” continues to be cited as one of the premier baseline reports on the biology of the Common Loon.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Botulism E Update from Canada

Date: 29 Dec 2007

National Post

The carcasses of hundreds of dead loons have washed up on the shoresof the Great Lakes in recent months, and necropsies on the birds donot explicitly say what is killing one of the country's nationalsymbols.

But the fat, healthy-looking birds have congested organs and half-digested fish in their stomachs, leading biologists to believe the loons succumbed to a spreading epidemic that has killed 75,000 birds, including 9000 loons, in the Great Lakes since 1999.

Diseased bird carcasses appeared this year [2007] for the 1st time on the beaches of Georgian Bay, a wildlife expert said. Last year[2006], the deaths were seen for the 1st time in Lake Michigan.

"Rather than sporadic outbreaks, which have occurred for years and years, now it is becoming much more generalized over the Great Lakes. It's becoming more widespread," said Kate Welch, a diagnostician withthe Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre, who performs necropsies on the birds. The loons, symbols of Canadian wilderness, died after eating badfish. More specifically, the loons died of type E botulism.

"The thought of botulism turning the Great Lakes into killing fields,it's not a good situation," Joe Kaplan, a biologist in Hancock,Michigan told the Muskegon Chronicle. The toxin produced paralyzesthe loons, Dr. Welch said; when they are no longer able to hold theirheads up, they drown."

"The loons, which are very emblematic for Canadians, are verylong-lived birds," Dr. Welch said. "They live up to 20 years or more,and if we're losing a substantial number of those birds in theirprime reproductive years, it may be 10 to 15 years before we see whatthat is going to do to the population as a whole."

Exact figures for the loon deaths are difficult to tally because the birds live almost entirely on water, and many of their bodies never wash ashore to be counted, she said. "There are probably huge numbersof mortalities that we just never see.

"There are about 545 000 loons that nest each summer in Canada, and while scientists do not believe they are in any immediate danger of being wiped out by type E botulism, the outbreaks could quickly reduce their numbers. Loons produce on average less than one chick per year.

No cases of human illness have been associated with the avian botulism outbreaks that have occurred on the Great Lakes. Humans only come in contact with type E botulism by eating infected fish or birds.

Over the years, people have been shaken by shores littered with dead loons, geese, ducks, gulls and cormorants. Horrified passersby at harbors or waterfront parks watched birds flailing around helplessly or struggling to keep their heads above water. Local media reported on the mysterious mass avian deaths.

The [disease] surfaced in the western end of Lake Erie in 1999 and quickly spread to lakes Huron and Ontario. The worst year was 2002,when 25,000 dead birds were counted in Lake Erie alone, according tothe Pennsylvania Sea Grant, a research program in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The deadly chain reaction started in the 1980s when zebra mussels and gobies, both invasive species, hitchhiked into the Great Lakes in the ballast tanks of ocean freighters from the Caspian Sea.

"It's a bit of a wake-up call that invasive species have long-term repercussions," Dr. Welch said. "They have substantially altered the ecosystem of the Great Lakes to the point where now we are seeing much more botulism."

Geoff Peach of the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation said that the United States and Canada need to enforce strict regulations governing ballast water management, or else other non-native species could find their way into our lakes.

Type E botulism results from a naturally occurring toxin, soconservation officials can do little to prevent the deaths. Butscientists are working on interrupting the food chain.

A team of researchers from the University of Windsor and the Ministryof Natural Resources are trying to create a tablet that will release sex pheromones to attract gobies and trap them.

Lynda Corkum, a University of Windsor ecologist who studies gobies, said gravid females swim toward the scent [that] scientists captured by leaving a male goby in a tank for several hours. While it is impossible to trap enough round gobies to reduce its population -- she estimates there are about 10 billion round gobies living in the western basin of Lake Erie -- the research could be used to stop gobies from spreading to inland rivers and lakes.
[Byline: Melissa Leong]

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Conference on Bird Monitoring Programs

If you are interested in bird conservation, please join the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI) at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on March 14-15, 2008, for a conference highlighting exciting new opportunities for birders and wildlife enthusiasts to help monitor and conserve Wisconsin’s birds. Friday will feature a birding field trip along Lake Michigan guided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Chris Wood, a former Wisconsin birder and current WINGS Birding Tour leader, and a dazzling presentation on Wisconsin’s birds in the tropics by Craig Thompson, chair of WBCI’s International Committee. Saturday morning talks will emphasize new citizen-based bird monitoring opportunities in Wisconsin, such as secretive marshbirds, nightjars, and Kirtland’s Warblers, and the afternoon will include hands-on workshops on eBird and the Wisconsin Birder Certification Program. The lineup of speakers and workshop leaders features such notables as Noel Cutright, Chris Wood, Bob Howe, and others.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about and sign up for upcoming bird monitoring programs in 2008! Save the dates and look for more details, including the conference agenda and registration form (it's free!), coming soon to WBCI's website at www.wisconsinbirds.org. See you in March!