Loons in northern Wisconsin have been falling from the sky due to the icy weather conditions, according to a wildlife rehab center in Antigo.
Raptor Education Group, Inc. posted to Facebook Thursday, alerting the public of the bird fallout phenomenon after receiving an elevated number of reports of loons on people’s property the past two days. They said, “We are getting calls on many loons on land and small ponds the past 2 days. A few loons can be a normal situation of a loon accidentally landing as a mistake however, due to the many calls received over the past 24 hrs., it appears we may have a LOON FALLOUT occuring. That occurs when atmospheric conditions are such that the migrating loons develop ice on their body as they fly at high altitude and crash land when they are no longer able to fly due to the weight of the ice on their body or the interference with their flight ability. The current ice/rain and unstable air currents is a perfect set-up for this phenomena to occur.
At this time loon have been seen on land in Wausau, Gleason, Stratford, Neva, Rice Lake, Antigo, Drummond….other areas may be involved as well. Unplanned groundings are especially dangerous for loons because they can’t walk. Loons leg positioning and body shape make it extremely difficult for loons to move across hard surfaces, and essentially become trapped on land.
“They are very vulnerable on land,” Gibson said. “As tough as they are, they can’t last long if they are in the middle of some field.”
They have sharp beaks and use the beak for defense. You can cover them with a blanket to contain them. You can transport them in a rubbermaid container with air holes in the top. Please put towels on the bottom of the container or box to cushion their V shaped keel and prevent injury.
Call REGI at 715-623-4015 or Loon Rescue at 715-966-5415