Vermont urges people to protect nesting loons and chicks

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging the public to enjoy loons from a distance.

Loons were removed from Vermont’s endangered species list in 2005 and the population is increasing, but that means there is greater potential for people to come into conflict with them.

Biologist Doug Morin says two threats remain, human disturbance during the breeding season and ingestion of fishing gear.

“Although most areas where loons are nesting on Vermont’s lakes are surrounded by signs reminding people to give loons the space they need, not all nesting areas are marked," said Morin. "We’re asking people to view loons using binoculars rather than from up close, whether they are in a boat, a canoe or a kayak.”

Eric Hanson, who oversees the Loon Conservation Project for the Vermont Center for Ecostudies in partnership with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, said most people are respectful of nesting loons and give them space, but people sometimes inadvertently harm loons by getting too close.

“Loon chicks can be difficult to see, so we ask motorboaters to note where loon families are and to avoid those areas,” said Hanson.