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Offline Rebel SS

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West Nile affecting Loon population
« on: July 18, 2019, 03:33:20 PM »

DNR News Release

For Immediate Release:

July 18, 2019

West Nile virus impacting Minnesota loon population


A recent uptick in reports of dead loons and test results indicate an impact from West Nile virus (WNV), according to nongame wildlife staff at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota confirmed WNV as the cause of death in two of three dead loons from northeastern Minnesota earlier this month. Wildlife staff are receiving a small but noticeable increase in calls from people finding dead loons in northeastern Minnesota this summer.

WNV was first confirmed in Minnesota in 2002 and was documented as a cause of loon mortality in Minnesota as early as 2005. It is not uncommon for people, animals and birds to be exposed to WNV through mosquito bites. Most people and animals successfully fight off the virus and develop antibodies against future infection. Some birds, like loons, crows and other corvids, are especially susceptible to the infection. Researchers are attempting to discover the rates of infection among ruffed grouse.

Loons can die from a variety of illnesses and injuries and individual bird deaths are a normal occurrence and not cause for alarm.

“Minnesotans love our loons and it’s concerning for people to find them dead. When we start seeing multiple birds dying on a single lake, we want to know about it so we can start tracking the information and determine when further testing is warranted,” said nongame wildlife specialist Gaea Crozier. “While there isn’t a way to treat the West Nile virus infection, knowing the cause can help us rule out other, preventable causes of mortality.”

Lake homeowners and other lake users who observe two or more dead loons on a single lake with no obvious injury or cause of death are asked to email the nearest DNR nongame wildlife staff for tracking:

Bemidji/northwest area: Christine Herwig, christine.herwig@state.mn.us.
Grand Rapids/northeast area: Gaea Crozier, gaea.e.crozier@state.mn.us.
Metro/Central Minnesota: Lori Naumann, lori.naumann@state.mn.us.
New Ulm/southern Minnesota: Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer,
lisa.gelvin-innvaer@state.mn.us.
Individual bird carcasses can be disposed of by burial or in the trash. There is no evidence people can contract WNV from infected birds, but gloves or a plastic bag are recommended when handling any dead animal. If reporting numbers reach a threshold that indicates a need for further testing, more information and handling protocols will follow.

The Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program is funded almost entirely through grants and donations. More information about the DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program and the Loon Monitoring Program can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/nongame.

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Offline Reinhard

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Re: West Nile affecting Loon population
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2019, 05:42:46 PM »
Thanks Reb.  I seen that article.  My favorite bird.  Love the sounds.  Especially at night while I'm getting ready to sleep in a tent.  hope this doesn't hurt the loons much.  Good luck.

Offline Rebel SS

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Re: West Nile affecting Loon population
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2019, 05:57:03 PM »
I have this pic I took on Lake Minnewawa for my screen saver......I really like 'em, too. Boy, they sure can get awful loud! There's quite a few on Minnewawa and Big Sandy, and they seem to really get goin' about 3:00 am some nites. Pretty haunting at times.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2019, 06:43:19 PM by Rebel SS »

Offline mike89

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Re: West Nile affecting Loon population
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2019, 06:59:19 PM »
Thanks Reb.  I seen that article.  My favorite bird.  Love the sounds.  Especially at night while I'm getting ready to sleep in a tent.  hope this doesn't hurt the loons much.  Good luck.

2nd that for sure!!!!
a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work!!

Offline Reinhard

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Re: West Nile affecting Loon population
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2019, 04:56:27 PM »
I read a different article about this and it said that the DNR doen't think that this is a reason to panic.  They said that the loon population has been stable in the last decade.  The loons that are dying of this seems to be on certain lakes and not wide spread.  I think this has been around since 2002 or so.  Grouse and blue jays have also been affected by this as well as moose and horses [and who knows what else].  Make's me wonder why some other loons are dying for some other reason.  What predators do they have?  Eagles?  Have to google it.  good luck.

Offline Leech~~

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Re: West Nile affecting Loon population
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2019, 05:38:56 PM »
Here is one I took fishing with the grandson. He kept diving under the boat and i thought we might hook him.  :sad:
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 05:40:35 PM by Leech~~ »
Cooking over a open fire is all fun and games until someone losses a wiener!

Offline Reinhard

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Re: West Nile affecting Loon population
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2019, 06:25:57 PM »
Ya Leech, I had that happen to me fishing up on Boulder Lake near Duluth last week with my brother.  The loon would be near my bobber or while we were drifting with a jig with a minnow or leech.  Made me nervous so I reeled in every time.  Just hated to have the loon take our baits.  Never did so that's a good thing.  good luck.

Offline Rebel SS

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Re: West Nile affecting Loon population
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2019, 07:31:28 PM »
They kept going after my crankbait every time I'd cast it out, too. Finally moved into a big weedbed where they didn't chase it so much.

 

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