Please see the article from Audubon Magazine:
THE WATERSHED CENTER- Grand Traverse Bay
October 30, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Local Volunteers Monitor Beaches
TRAVERSE CITY, MI- Local volunteers around northern Lake Michigan are monitoring beaches as part of an effort to record the number of birds dying from botulism E. After thousands of birds died in 2007, regional environmental organizations created the Northern Lake Michigan Botulism Network to assist government agencies in monitoring hundreds of miles of beaches.
The Botulism Network has trained volunteer Beach Rangers to identify the common bird species found on the beach. Banded birds, especially common loons, are collected and sent to Lansing for an autopsy. Common loons are classified as a threatened species in Michigan.
Reports for each county are compiled by The Watershed Center and then sent to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources & Environment.
Anyone interested in becoming a Beach Ranger should contact The Watershed Center. Beach walkers who encounter dead birds on Lake Michigan are encouraged to contact the Botulism Network coordinator in their county:
Grand Traverse – Andy Knott, The Watershed Center (231.941.1514)
Leelanau& Benzie – Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant (231.922.4620)
Antrim – Peg Comfort, LOON NETWORK (231.676.0566)
Charlevoix & Emmet – Kevin Cronk, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (231.347.1181)
September 29, 2012
Loon Patriarch Found Dead
NORTHPORT- The Patriarch of common loons in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan was found dead on a Lake Michigan beach on Saturday September 29, 2012. He was the oldest banded loon (age 21) still living in northern Michigan. Common loons are classified as threatened in Michigan and may live 40- 50 years.
The Patriarch was born on May 25, 1991 to a pair of common loons nesting along the east end of Clam Lake in Antrim County. He was captured by research biologist, David Evers, from Western Michigan University on June 28, 1991 and given a USFWS metal band and colored bands. He was one of the first common loons banded in Michigan.
After spending several years as a juvenile in the Gulf of Mexico, the Patriarch returned to northern Michigan and established a territory near the mouth of the Intermediate River on Lake Bellaire in Antrim County in 2001.
For several years he returned to this territory but did not successfully reproduce. In 2003, he moved his territory to Lake Bellaire’s South Arm and nested along the northwestern shore of the Grass River Natural Area. He and his mate successfully reproduced from 2004-2012.
On July 10, 2010, the Patriarch was recaptured by research biologist, Joe Kaplan, from Common Coast Research and Conservation, Inc. (Escanaba, MI). He was given new bands (USFWS Band #1018-04237) and an archival tag as part of a ten-year research study conducted by the Elk River Chain of Lakes LOON NETWORK. The LOON NETWORK is a project of Michigan Audubon.
The Patriarch was recaptured on June 22, 2011 and the archival tag was removed. He appeared to be in good health with a mate and 2 chicks. He returned in 2012, mated and again produced 2 chicks.
During his life, he flew more than 42,500 miles during the spring and fall migrations, according to biologist, Joe Kaplan.
The Patriarch may be survived by 16 offspring, six have been banded.
The Necropsy Record written by Tom Cooley, MDNRE- Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing, determined the cause of death was Botulism E. Avian botulism is a paralytic, often fatal disease of birds caused when they ingest toxins. It is believed these toxins accumulate in the fatty tissues of the non-native round goby, now a common fish in Lake Michigan. The disease has been associated with fish and water-bird die-offs on Lake Michigan.
Memorial gifts may be sent to the LOON NETWORK, P.O. Box 117, Alden, MI 49612 or donations can be made online at www.commonloon.org.
LOON NETWORK Project Manager, Peg Comfort, gave an informal presentation on loons to approximately 50 people at the monthly meeting of the Six Mile Lake Association. The SMLA Loon Committee raised funds for banding the loons for the first time on Six Mile Lake. This fundraising effort was headed by LOON NETWORK Volunteer Cherie Hogan.
LOON NETWORK Project Manager, Peg Comfort, gave a presentation on “LOONS IN THE CHAIN OF LAKES,” to approximately 50 people as part of the Friends of the Alden Library Speaker Series. A collection of loon art and books was displayed for the month of August in the library.
To view the “LOONS IN THE CHAIN” PRESENTATION, click here.
Seven of the nine nests were successful- 78% nest success rate. Both natural nests were washed out by flooding after a major rainstorm. Eleven of the 14 chicks that hatched survived to fledge- 79% success rate. Three chicks were lost to predation.
Common Coast Research & Conservation Biologist, Joe Kaplan, spent one night on Six Mile Lake. Two juveniles and one adult were banded. LOON NETWORK volunteer Peg Comfort assisted. Eight members of the Six Mile Lake Association observed at the home of Cherie & Kelly Hogan.