Volunteers keep eyes on the state of our state bird across Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is gathering valuable information from volunteers around the state through the “loon monitoring program.” The program tells them about the health of our lakes and about the state’s loon population overall.
“I’m kind of a bird nut,” said Nik Snyder from Pine City, one of the program’s volunteers.
She spent a week this summer monitoring loons on a handful of lakes in Cook County.
“We learned loons can be kind of playful. They were diving down under our canoe,” Snyder said.
The DNR program monitors loons on 600 lakes across Minnesota. Over the years, it’s revealed where loon populations are increasing and decreasing and what that means.
Loons’ presence is a good indicator of water quality because they need clean, clear water to catch food. If they are not returning to a lake, it could be a valuable red flag.
“Sometimes it’s black flies, sometimes it’s [an] encroachment on their habitat from development around the lakes. Sometimes it’s toxins like lead or mercury,” said Lori Naumann with the DNR.
For more information on the loon monitoring program, click here.