This past Friday, on March 27, a Common Loon crash-landed at the Berlin Airport (I’m serious – no fooling today). Owen Montgomery, who works next door at the U.S. Department of Agriculture office, picked up the bird and found that it had few scratches. It seemed healthy otherwise.
John Buck of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department transported the loon to Sara Eisenhower at VINS Wildlife Services for examination. The loon was healthy minus making the mistake that the Berlin Airport does not have a runway for seaplanes (airports in Alaska have canals next to their terrestrial runways). VINS released the bird on the Connecticut River.
This loon was likely already performing reconnaissance flights to return to its territory. Males tend to return first, thus maybe this was the male from Berlin Pond. It may have been tired from the flight, possibly from the New England coast. Loons will fly hundreds of miles in a single migratory flight. It saw the black of the runway, and, like the rest of us suffering from spring fever, perhaps had notions of water, sun, and fish.
[…] airport where a loon crashed landed on the dark runway and had to be rescued. Here’s the report by Eric Hansen, who is the biologist for the Vermont Loon Recovery […]
I’ve got to say you’ve all been publishing some seriously great content lately. Thanks for the continued stream of great stories. I especially like little nuggets like confused loons 🙂
Thanks, Jason. Besides finally documenting this migration, we like the Blackpoll Warbler work because it will also help us with real-world, on-the-ground conservation of these warblers and other songbirds.
Indeed! When I first read the Warbler post this morning I thought it may actually be an april fools day joke. You’ve got to watch out for which day you publish big news on the internet… Congrats on the study as well.