Loons of the Canadian Prairie

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Loons of the Canadian Prairie

What can we learn about the loons of Louisiana’s coast when we follow them 2,000 miles north to their summer breeding grounds?

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Some of these loons make an annual migration of over 4,000 miles round trip between their winter feeding grounds and their summer breeding grounds.

Animals that are high up in the food chain—like loons, which eat fish and shrimp—can tell us a lot about what’s going on in their environment.


Volunteers will tag loons.

Chronic exposure to petroleum can harm loons and other species and may lead to death from starvation, disease, or predation. By studying the loons in their summer breeding grounds, researchers can get a better idea of how the oil spill may have an impact not only on the loons that lived through it, but also on future generations.

You’ll also get to participate in a brand-new aspect of this study: recording and analyzing loon vocalizations to get to know individual loons and the whole species better. With more information on the calls loons use to indicate identity and aggression, researchers can figure out how individual loons choose their breeding territory. Then they can work to conserve critical loon landscapes.

About the research area

Saskatchewan, Canada, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


James (Jim)
Associate Professor, Biology Department, St. Joseph’s College

ABOUT James (Jim) Paruk

Dr. James “Jim” Paruk is the Senior Scientist at the Center for Loon Conservation at the Biodiversity Research Institute. Jim is investigating the health and behaviors of loons in Lake Jocassee, South Carolina in order to better understand common loon wintering behavior in freshwater and compare it to four years of data Earthwatch teams have collected from loons along the coast of Louisiana.



Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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