Hundred of loons are literally falling out of the sky in Wisconsin, and it's a concerning problem, but why is it happening?

Have You Ever Seen a Loon?

If you spend a lot of time in Wisconsin, especially in the northern part of the state, seeing loons is a regular occurrence, but if you've never traveled North of the Illinois border, there's a good you have no idea what a loon even is.

First off, a loon is a bird that many people think is a species of duck, but they're actually not. Five different species of loons can be found in the United States, but this loon, the Common Loon, is typically what you see most in Wisconsin, and sometimes if you're lucky, the Northern parts of Illinois. (They don't live in Illinois, they only migrate through the state),

Ray Hennessy on Unsplash
Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

Some people think loons are slightly terrifying because of their blood-red eyes, but other people, (like myself), think they are quite beautiful. I'm not gonna lie though, the sound of their calls can be a little unnerving, especially when you hear them at night...

In Wisconsin, you are most likely to see loons in the North Woods lakes, but right now they are falling out of the sky in large, concerning numbers.

Why Are Loons Falling Out of the Sky in Wisconsin?

Quite simply, Mother Nature is to blame for hundreds of loons falling out of the sky in Wisconsin right now. Why? Rapid temperature drops and icy rain conditions is causing a phenomenon called "Loon Fallout".

According to;

A loon fallout reportedly happens when atmospheric conditions cause migrating loons to develop ice on their body as they fly at high altitudes. This then causes the loons to crash land because they are not able to fly due to the weight of ice on their body. The ice also can interfere with the loon’s flight ability.

Obviously, loons crash landing on the ground is not a good thing and can severely hurt the loons, but is there anything we can do to prevent it? Sadly, no, but we can help the birds when we see it happening.

A post from Raptor Education Group, Inc. on Facebook says in part;

Loons cannot walk! They will need your help! If you find a loon on land or on a road or cow pasture, realize that it cannot walk. Their legs are placed to the back of the bird and are made for swimming and diving not walking.

If you see a loon lying on the ground, please proceed with caution, because these birds can be tough to handle. They have sharp beaks and aren't afraid to use them as defense, so the best thing to do is call your local wildlife center or rescue to assist.

Raptor Education Group, Inc.'s post also includes more helpful info for rescuing injured loons, read the whole thing here...

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