Several techniques have been used to capture Common Loons (Gavia immer), but effectiveness is limited during periods of the breeding season when loons do not have chicks. From 2005 to 2008, we studied loons in northern Wisconsin and used night lighting to capture loons on nests and also designed a lift net for capturing loons prior to nesting. At night, incubating loons were approached by boat and, when within about 30-60 m, we focused a spotlight on the loon and, once at the nest, captured loons using a landing net. Using this technique, we captured 23 loons in 29 attempts (79%). In addition, taped calls and loon decoys were used to entice prenesting, territorial loons into a shoreline-based, lift-net trap at a capture efficiency of 67% (10 captures in 15 attempts) during the second year of use. Our diurnal lift-net trap and night-light nest-capture techniques allowed us to capture adult Common Loons during periods of the breeding season when previous investigators have found loons difficult to catch. These techniques may also be useful for capturing other species of territorial waterbirds, especially other species of loons. ?? 2009 Association of Field Ornithologists. No claim to original U.S. government works.
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Capturing Common Loons during prenesting and nesting periods