Progress in Understanding Loon Migration and Movements

By Dr. Walter Piper, Scientist, National Loon Center

Lines connecting banding sites with recovery sites for wintering adult loons (light blue) and wintering first-year loons (dark blue), summering adults (orange) and summering first-years (dark pink). Data: United States Geological Survey. Map: Google Earth.
  1. Loons from the two best-studied state populations (Wisconsin — green endpoints; Minnesota, red endpoints) winter side-by-side — each state sending the bulk of its breeding loons to the Florida Gulf Coast and the remainder to the Atlantic Coast.
  2. Most loons too young to return to the breeding grounds migrate a short distance northwards, along the Atlantic Coast (dark pink and orange lines), and spend their summers there. A few stragglers travel farther north, reaching New Jersey, Massachusetts, and even Labrador.

The National Loon Center restores and protects loon breeding habitats, enhances responsible recreation, and catalyzes essential loon and freshwater research.