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The Canadian Lakes Loon Survey was initiated in Ontario in 1981, and expanded nationally in 1989. The early focus was on monitoring the negative effects of acid rain on breeding loons. During its first decade the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey data showed a direct link between acid rain and loon chick survival. Since the early years, much has been done to address acid rain yet today lake acidity still reduces loon reproduction throughout Canada.

Human disturbance and development are ongoing threats to loons. Canadian Lakes Loon surveyors report many activities that are detrimental to loons including: disturbance of nesting sites (as a result of boats, canoes/kayaks, personal watercraft, and water level changes); entanglement in discarded debris (fishing lines and domestic garbage); nest predation due to attracting and support of nest predators (raccoons, skunks, and gulls); and displacement of loons through habitat loss. Reproductive success data from the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey clearly show that the number of chicks that each pair produces each year is declining over time.

Ultimately, local human disturbance can be minimized when people are sensitive to needs of loons. As more people move into loon country, promoting loon-friendly activities is increasingly important. Canadian Lakes Loon Survey participants continue to play a key educational role through distributing brochures, creating informative displays, erecting signs, building nest platforms, addressing local concerns, and, of course, tracking loon chick survival over their first, critical summer.

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