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What do I do if I find an injured loon?

  1. If you are a Loon Ranger, call your Area Coordinator.

  2. If you are not a Loon Ranger, and know who the county Area Coordinator or local Rangers are, call them immediately.

  3. You may also call the MI Loonwatch State Coordinator, Joanne Williams: 989-828-6019 or Arlene Westhoven: 231-598-0878.  Either one can advise you.

  4. You must notify your DNR District Field Office within an hour of picking up and having the loon, to log in that you are holding it for transport to assistance.  They may be able to provide you with a number of a rehabilitation center.  They also may be able to assist in  capturing the injured loon.

  5. If not, your local Conservation Officer, Sheriff's Department or State Police may be able to provide information to you, and/or to assist you in capturing the loon and/or transporting it to aid.

  6. If you are unable to obtain help from the official agencies, and there is a wildlife rehabilitation center in your area that is equipped to capture and/or care for injured loons, contact them for possible assistance in recovering the bird and for its care.

  7. State and Federal permits are not required if you have notified the DNR (even by leaving a message to check in that you have the bird) that you are in possession of an injured loon.  It may be held for a relatively short period of time if you are in the process of transporting the bird to assistance with the knowledge of the DNR.

  8. State and Federal permits are required to hold a dead loon or an injured loon for any length of time beyond transporting it to assistance.

Loons can get confused.

Some times loons need to land in a hurry because of an unexpected storm. A big storm blew into Michigan and many loons needed to land in a hurry. Southern lakes, streams, roads and even cow fields like this loon.

Make sure the container is clear and just big enough for the loon to fit in. Also a lid to keep the loon in but make sure there is fresh air for it to breath.

What do I do if I find a dead loon?

  1. Call your Area Coordinator immediately if you are a Loon Ranger.

  2. If you are not a Ranger, and know who the county Area Coordinator or Loon Rangers are, call them immediately

  3. You should also notify the MI Loonwatch State Coordinator, Joanne Williams 989-828-6019, or Arlene Westhoven: 231-598-0878.

  4. Notify the District DNR office as soon as possible after picking up the bird, within a couple of  hours.  A DNR field representative may be able to come and pick up the loon if you are unable to take it there.

  5. Double-wrap the bird in plastic bags (because of parasites) and put it into a freezer if possible until it can be taken to the nearest District DNR office for transport to Michigan Wildlife Disease Laboratory, 4725 Beaumont Rd., Lansing MI 48910.

    The lab is housed with in the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health (DCPAH) in a Michigan State University building on the MSU campus.  The lab's name as well as the DCPAH name is on the sign out in front of the building.  The MDNR contact biologist/pathologist there is: Thomas M. Cooley, 517-336-5034 (Office), 517-336-5116 (Necropsy),

  6. Do not perform or allow to be performed any so-called "field necropsies".  The loon needs to be received by Lansing without any contamination from being cut into.

  7. A Threatened and Endangered Species Report Form is required to accompany the loon carcass being held or in transport.  This form will be provided to you by the Area Coordinator or the State Coordinator. 

MI DNR Wildlife Management Units:

Upper Peninsula Region: Ishpeming Field Office: UP Regional Supervisor Terry Minzey: 906-485-1031
Northern Lower Peninsula Region: Bay City Operations Service Center:  NLP Regional Supervisor Rax Ainslie:989-686-2790
Southeastern Region: Southfield Operations Service Center: SE Regional Supervisor Tim Payne: 248-359-9040
Southwestern Region: Plainwell Operations Service Center: Regional Supervisor Sara Schaefer: 269-685-6851

You may contact your local DNR office for a more immediate response.  A complete list of DNR field offices is located at the DNR's Emerging Diseases Web site:; go to the Seasonal Information section and then to "How to Report a Sick Bird or Mammal" from the Michigan heading.

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