Bird Studies Canada
Project name: Canadian Lakes Loon Survey
To help conserve loons by engaging participants in monitoring and education activities, and use loon productivity as a long-term indicator of the health of freshwater lakes.
Status : Active
Year started :
Years (comments) :
Season(s) and frequency :
minimum of 3 visits (monthly in June, July and August)
Geographic area covered :
Primarily southern half of most Canadian provinces where accessible by lake residents or cottagers.
Type(s) of habitat :
Primary species covered :
Common Loon (Gavia immer)
Sampling Design :
User-selected lakes; some lakes part of Environment Canada's Long range transport of airborne pollutants project
Field methods :
Observers make a minimum of three visits to lakes; June to record nesting activity of loon; July to determine numbers of chicks hatched; August to determine numbers of chicks fledged. Numbers of loon pairs and number and age/size class of chicks recorded.
Measures made of potential human disturbance such as water level fluctuations, shoreline development and monthly ratings of human activity.
Data format :
SQL Server data base, Accessed by BSC Staff and LRTAP scientiests, some availablility on wildspace; data will soon be available on line
Data validation :
Lake and lake sections are accurately geo-referenced using the Canadian Geonames database as the main reference source. Data are reviewed by staff knowledgable in the ecology and behaviour of loons, all electronic data is checked against paper data.
Data entry methods :
Surveyors have the choice of submitting their observations to Bird Studies Canada on paper or entering them online at Bird Studies Canada's website.
Sample size :
Over 4000 lakes have been surveyed across Canada with more than 15000 surveys conducted since 1981, on average of 690 surveys are conducted each year.
Reports and publications are available on line at www.bsc-eoc.org. Data is available if formally requested from BSC (BSC approval required).
Trends and time series availability :
Jones, K.E. and S.T.A. Timmermans. 2007. Common Loon, pp. 140-141 in Cadman, M.D., D.A. Sutherland, G.G. Beck, D. Lepage, and A.R. Couturier (eds.). Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Bird Studies Canada, Environment Canada, Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature, Toronto, xxii + 706 pp.. Badzinski, S.S. & S. T. A Timmermans. 2006. Factors influencing productivity of common loons breeding on circumneutral lakes in Nova Scotia, Canada. Hydrobiologia (2006), 567: 215-226. Champoux, L., D.C. Masse, D. Evers, O.P. Lane, M. Plante & S.T.A. Timmermans. 2006. Assessment of mercury exposure and potential effects on common loons (Gavia immer) in Québec. Hydrobiologia (2006) 567:263-274. Timmermans, S.T.A., G.E. Craigie, and K.E. Jones. 2004. Common Loon (Gavia immer) pairs rear four-chick broods. Wilson Bulletin 116: 97-101. Timmermans, S. 2003 Canadian Lakes Loon Survey: Higher productivity shown among western loons. Wildlife Watchers 9. NP_PUBL
Bird Studies Canada. 2002 The State of Nova Scotia's Loons: A Decade-Long View from the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey. Bird Studies Canada, Port Rowan, ON. 4pp. TECHREPORT
Scheuhammer, A.M., Perrault, J.A., and D.E. Bond. 2001 Mercury, methylmercury, and selenium concentrations in eggs of Common Loons (Gavia immer) from Canada. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 72:79-94. PR_PUBL
Jones, K 2001 Report on the assimilation of the Ontario portion of the 1998 and 1999 Canadian Lakes Loon Survey data. Unpubl. Rept. to CWS-Ontario Region. 12pp. TECHREPORT
Bowman, J., Kirk, D.A. and J. McCracken 2001 Temporal patterns in reproductive success of Common Loons in Nova Scotia, 1988-1999 Unpub. Rept. to CWS-Atlantic Region (draft). 26pp. TECHREPORT
Weeber, R.C 1999 Temporal Patterns in Breeding Success of Common Loons in Ontario, 1981 1997. Unpublished report by Bird Studies Canada to Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Region. TECHREPORT Collins, C 1999 Why the Common Loon reigns supreme in the hearts of cottagers Cottage Life 12(1):48-56. NP_PUBL
Funding sources :
Volunteers provide 70% funding, also Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Wildlife Foundation; Shell Environmental Fund, The Ontario Trillium Foundation; The Millinium Fund
Applications for the data :
Local citizens and lake associations are using CLLS data to help understand and maintain lakes, regional governments and others are making use of CLLS data for planning and lake monitoring, and federal governments and others are making use of CLLS data to help assess the health of Lakes with special emphasis on the impact of acid rain.
Users of the information :
Research biologists assessing temporal changes in loon populations in response to anthropogenic factors
Environmental assessment :
Common Loons are used as a potential indicator of lake health in Environment Canada's Long Range Transport of Air Pollutants (LRTAP) Biomonitoring program. Understanding temporal patterns in loon breeding success may provide information