In fall and spring, it is common to spot large groups of migrant loons on the southern part of Lake Mendota. The gathering of these otherwise territorial birds is social preparation for migration. The birds spend most of their time near the Limnology Lab and Water Science and Engineering Lab buildings where they are protected from the southern winds.
In recent summers, nonbreeding assemblages have been observed in the middle of the lake. Wildlife ecology Professor Stanley Temple attributes this behavior to the decrease in available loon territory due to shoreline development, pollution and harassment by lake users. The flock feeds in Lake Mendota until breeding time when they return home.
To learn more about loons and how to save their environment, contact Wisconsin Project Loon Watch, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin 54806. (715) 682-1220