Injured or Dead Loon?
Minnesota Contact Numbers
National Loon Center: 218-692-LOON (5666)
Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release (Crystal): 612-822-7058
Wild and Free (Garrison): 320-692-4180
Northwoods Wildlife Rescue (Park Rapids): 218-616-2176
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota (Roseville): 651-486-9453
DNR Information Center (St. Paul): 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367)
Turn in Poachers (TIP) Hotline: 800-652-9093
Found a Loon in Distress?
From a safe distance, take videos and photos of the loon and the suspected concern. This especially helps when reporting unusual behavior!
Some normal loon behaviors look strange and are confused for a loon in distress. Before reporting a loon in distress, please click the link below for common causes of distressed/injured loons and misleading behaviors to help you determine if a wildlife professional should be contacted.
If you found a dead loon, scroll down the page to find instructions on how you can help with loon “CSI” research.
What to Do Next
Rescues and transport can be very stressful to wild animals, including loons. We try to intervene when necessary, e.g. injury because of human activity. Territorial aggression between loons is a natural part of their lives and not typically a cause for intervention.
For help understanding if a loon’s behavior is of concern, call a wildlife professional.
- NLC staff are available during regular office hours (Monday through Friday 8am-4pm). Please leave a voicemail with your contact information and a detailed report.
- Check Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release’s list of permitted Minnesota facilities to find your nearest rehabilitator.
- The MN DNR recommends contacting the DNR Information Center for injured, sick or nuisance animals. You can also search for your local nongame wildlife specialist or conservation officer. Use the MN DNR’s Office Locator tool to contact your local DNR office. The common loon is a federally protected species. To report incidents of a loon being harassed by people, call the TIP Hotline.
The summer is a busy season for wildlife professionals and rehabilitators. There is a chance your call may be outside of working hours or staff are unavailable to immediately respond. You should continue to monitor the loon, make detailed notes of its condition, and take photos/videos from a safe distance. It may be best to wait for professional assistance if it is not a life-threatening injury.
Found an injured loon outside of Minnesota? Scroll through the rest of this page to find resources for reporting loons in other states.
Found a Dead Loon?
To help prevent loon mortalities, the National Loon Center is facilitating necropsy research. If you find a dead adult or juvenile loon that is not badly decomposed, follow the steps outline below. Click on “Loon Mortality Forms” to find important background information and the data sheet. If you’ve found a dead loon outside of weekday business hours, please follow these steps and leave us a voicemail or email with your contact information. NLC staff will respond as soon as possible.
Take a photo of the loon in the conditions it was found.
If it is safe to do so, wear gloves to retrieve the loon.
Use two garbage bags to double bag the loon.
Place the loon immediately into a freezer to prevent further decomposition.
Write Down Data
Fill out the Loon Mortality Data Sheet found above
Call the NLC at 218-692-5666 to arrange a pick up. There may be a waiting period before staff can drive out.
Reporting injured loons in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
Reporting injured loons in Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Reporting injured loons in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming.
How You Can Keep Loons Safe
Making the switch to lead-free tackle prevents loons from succumbing to lead poisoning. Loons can consume lead via jigs and sinkers that sink to the lake bottom, consuming fish containing tackle, or going after active lines. Properly disposing of fishing lines and tackle prevents loon from becoming tangled in the line or accidently swallow jigs and sinkers with lines still attached. Taking your lines out of the water when loons are swimming/diving nearby also prevents entanglement. Find Lead-Free Tackle
Observe no-wake zones within 200 feet of the shoreline. Loons nest in protected bays, marshy areas along the shoreline, or islands. Strong wakes can flood out nests. While out on the water, keep a watchful eye out for loons, especially young chicks, swimming and diving. Boat collisions with loons do happen and have likely accounted for 2 chick and 3 adult loon mortalities of 10 identified mortality events by the NLC since necropsy studies began in 2021. Be Wake Aware
There are many steps we can take to keep our freshwater lakes clean for both loons and people. Following Clean, Drain, Dry decontamination practices helps stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Loons depend on clear water to find prey and feed their young. Keeping pollutants out of the water and carrying trash out helps keep the lakes clean. Restoring your shoreline or creating a natural buffer zone helps stop runoff from getting into the lakes. Restore Your Shore