Loons of fall are those found injured or frozen into our lakes after resident loons have migrated. This year we had four loons that were "loons of fall". We are delighted to say that all four have been released at this time on their migratory route. Some of the rescues were pretty "exciting" to say the least for our loon rescue team Kevin and Linda Grenzer. Kevin recounted for us recently how an iced in loon from Tomahawk was nearly taken by predators, even as they raced toward her with their hovercraft. One of our loons had her beak wrapped with fishing line as a lure held her beak tightly closed. She is one very lucky loon.
Our thanks to Kevin and Linda for rescuing loons that otherwise would surely die. We are happy to say the success of their work and techniques have stimulated loon biologists in other states to see the possibilities and implement loon rescues as well. Bravo to our great team!
Loons are the most high-strung birds we care for and are challenging rehabilitation cases for several reasons. Loons are one of the most ancient bird families in North America. The loon that we know in our time, has been around for 35 million years. Can you even imagine that loon ancestors were on earth when they dinosaurs were? These stunningly birds have some odd anatomic adaptations which make them perfect for their diving in deep cold-water lake’s natural habitat. Loons have a keel shaped like a ships keel. Therefore, they are unable to rest flat on her abdomen…because it is not flat. We must house loons on substrate that allows them to “sink” into it and cradles that sharp keel to prevent injury to the delicate structure. Their legs are set so far back on their body that they are unable to walk. Also, loons need to swim and dive to keep their air sacs clear of any contaminants. Oh, and one more thing, loons only eat live fish, so they are mega expensive to feed. This makes us very grateful for the generous R.J. Hilger and Sons Baits of Antigo. They are amazing and wonderful folks that through the minnows they supply allow us to rehabilitate our loon patients successfully.
Success does not happen in a vacuum. No one knows that more than we do. We work hard to give the best possible care to our patients, but without folks that find them and volunteers that transport patients to REGI, they would not have that second chance at life. As this year is ending, we are more aware than ever how blessed we are to have such a great community around us that supports and enables our work and helps us educate others about wildlife needs and dangers. Our followers are just the best people we know! Thank you all for whatever part you have played in our work no matter how small. You are important, and we are grateful.