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!

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