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Lake association

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Loon Preservation CommitteeSave A Loon - Keep The Lead Out

By Caroline Hughes, Biologist & Outreach Coordinator, Loon Preservation Committee

    Learn more about Loons:   www.loon.org     www.loonsafe.org


Losing Our Franklin Pierce Lake Loons to Lead Poisoning

On September 6th 2021, visitors to Manahan Park were greeted with a gruesome sight: a dead Common Loon lay along the shoreline and a Bald Eagle, having noticed this easy source of nourishment, had begun to scavenge the carcass. In an attempt to get the loon out of the sight and reach of children and pets, the carcass was moved into the woods. As word of this made its way around the Franklin Pierce Lake community, residents Nancy Cone, Tim Cone, and Cindy Riordan set out to find the loon carcass. Aware of the value of a dead loon to biologists at the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC), who have collected and autopsied every dead loon reported by the public since 1989, Nancy, Tim, and Cindy searched the woods tirelessly. On September 10th, they located the loon. Though not much was left by the time they found it, their search proved to be well worth the effort. Tucked inside of the loon’s gizzard, biologists found the object responsible for its death: a partially eroded lead-headed jig that had poisoned the bird. Sadly, in September 2023, this scene repeated itself—a second loon died on the beach at Manahan Park, and just like its 2021 counterpart, lead fishing tackle was found to be the culprit.