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Common Loons are Faithful to Wintering Sites

Cara J

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Researchers have long known that loons throughout Canada and the northern United States stay faithful to their spring nesting sites, however, new research shows for the first time that the birds are also faithful to their wintering sites. “There isn’t much winter ecology research that’s been done,” said James Paruk, the senior scientist at the Biodiversity Research Institute, a non-profit organization that uses scientific findings to advance awareness and inform decision-makers. “Because of this, there are some gaps in our knowledge.” Paruk, who has studied loons for about two decades, is also the lead author of the new study on loons’ wintering habits, recently published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications. The main reason for this paucity of data is that winters pose a challenge for researchers studying common loons, Paruk said. The birds have molted their striking black and white breeding plumage for their uniformly gray and dull winter plumage and as such are easily overlooked. In addition, in the ocean they can be miles from shore, outside of the range of most binoculars and spotting scopes. Paruk and his research team began studying loon winter ecology in 2004 in Morro Bay, California, and later expanded to studied Louisiana, California, [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/common-loons-are-faithful-to-wintering-sites/

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