Study of the Loon Territory
Twenty years of loon research in northern Wisconsin has taught us much about territorial behavior. We can now answer a variety questions about loon territories and breeding behavior, like “Do loons mate for life?”, “How does a loon find a breeding territory?”, and “Who decides where the nest goes?”. Look under “Findings” (using the drop down menu) for answers to these and other burning questions. You can also look at our scientific research papers.
Study of The Loon Population
We are able to monitor the loon population in northern Wisconsin using our large sample of marked individuals. In fact, we have measured both adult and juvenile survival. Look under “Findings” > “How healthy is the loon population in northern Wisconsin?” for more information and copies of our published papers on these topics.
UPDATES FROM THE LOON PROJECT
One function that this site serves is to share our new findings and activities with folks who are interested. If you wish to learn what we are doing at the moment and hear about discoveries that we are excited about but that have not yet appeared in print, you can check out “News”. During the breeding season (May to August), I hope to provide frequent updates of this kind. Let me know, via e-mail, what you think of this information. Should I start a blog? By the way, what is a blog?
We make available here video that shows what our leg-banded loons look like (under “Why Band Loons?”). In addition, if you look under “Findings” > “How does a loon acquire a territory?”, you can watch a couple of vicious battles between loons for ownership of a territory.
An important goal of this website is to share data from our longitudinal study of loons that began in 1993. Under “Data”, you will find information on territorial status of our marked study animals. These data show how many years individual loons and pairs have stayed on their territories. As you will see, adults tend to return to their territories each year….but sometimes do not. You will also find reproductive data that tells how many chicks adult loons produced each year.
Who We Are
The project is directed by Walter Piper of Chapman University in Orange, California. But I have had academic assistance from numerous collaborators over the years, help from a huge and tireless staff of field assistants, and support from many lake residents, who let us view loons on their lakes. To find out more about the people on the study, look under “People”.
We are grateful to have received funding for our loon study from a number of sources, especially the National Science Foundation.