Date: 4/29/19 6:37 pm From: <clearwater...> Subject: [obol] E.E. Wilson loon is likely trapped
I see from eBird RBAs that folks are still going out to twitch the Common Loon that been on the Angling Pond at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area since April 26th. I know, it's a "good county bird" but please be aware that it's in a bad situation for a loon.
Without a strong headwind, loons need about a 200 m run just to get airborne (thanks to Pam Comeleo for the Birds of North America reference).
The longest diagonal of that pond is about 167 m. If the loon tries to take off in that direction, it would need to clear banks that are about 8-10 ft above the pond level to the SW, or much taller trees if it tries to go the other way. It's just not doable for a loon, unless we get a fluke storm that brings gale-force winds to the mid-Willamette valley.
Local birders who twitched this bird have commented on how "tame" the bird seems to be. But wildlife professionals should recognize that "tame" birds could be birds under stress. From my experience following Common Loons around in a canoe on northern Minnesota lakes as a kid back in the early 1970s, they don't normally let you get closer than 50 m before they dive and then, some minutes later, pop up on the far side of the lake.
This bird has less than 50 m distance to any side of this very popular fishing pond. Tangles of fishing line, lost fish hooks, and lead sinkers are other hazards that this bird is presently exposed to.
I'll be recommending to ODFW staff that this bird needs to be relocated to a larger body of water where it has at least a chance of continuing on its migration. Some other concerned local birders and conservationists might be ahead of me on this.
Please always think of the birds' welfare first. And after that ...