Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Loon Death Update

On the original post about the loon death I had not been able to contact the Jacobs family that discovered the dead loon. This afternoon we had a discussion about their tragic discovery.

The Jacobs family found the loon amongst some rocks adjacent to their cottage. The loon was dead when they discovered it. It had a fishing lure lodged in its mouth with a long piece of fishing line attached to the lure.

On the weekend of the discovery the Jacobs were unable to contact the Department of Natural Resources. They have since advised DNR and the loon is buried in the Hunt Camp property across the road.

We can speculate about what actually happened to our loon. It could have come across a lure that had been abandoned in the lake for whatever reason. It could have attacked the lure of a person fishing on the lake and the sheer weight of the bird and a fight that would ensue could have broken the line. The chances that it attacked a fish that had a lure in it seems remote as the lure was lodged in the loon's mouth and throat area.

Whatever happened the bird would no doubt be in shock and of course would be unable to feed. It would not have been a peaceful death.
In the last three years we have lost three adult loons and all had fishing lures in them. Our lake is so small that it seems that fishing and loons cannot co-exist without serious mishaps.

Its sad state that in instances wherever modern day humans chose to exist nature suffers.


At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Larry Jacobs said...

The loon death in 2011 was actually from lead poisoning because the male loon had injested a lead weight from the lake bottom. Loons use grit to help breakup food.

We do not know whether this actually came from the bottom of Leech Lake. Here's what we do know. A loon suffering from lead poisoning would not likely be capable of migrating northward in spring. And it is highly unlikely that an ill bird would have fathered a successful chick.

Whether the lead came from Leech Lake or not is not relevent. What is important is to try as best we can to take care about how we act on the lake. In the spring we requested that boaters and fishers try to keep 100 meters away from loons on the lake. That would have prevented the death in 2012.

We ask once again, that fishing and other activities on the lake be done far away from loons. That will help prevent further incidents such as we have had for each of the past 3 summers.

Larry Jacobs
Chair Leech Lake Stewardship Comm.

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