INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 27, 2014, 09:27 AM

Rare loon rescued in Minnesota

Isanti County, MN (CNN) - A rare bird saved from near-death in Minnesota is now on the road to recovery.

By: Laura Betker, CNN, CNN

Isanti County, MN (CNN) - A rare bird saved from near-death in Minnesota is now on the road to recovery.

When a red-throated loon was rescued from a field in Isanti County, the outlook was grim.

Phil Jenni – Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota: “At that point he was exhausted, hadn't eaten and was probably settling down to die.”

Now recuperating at the wildlife rehabilitation center of Minnesota in Roseville, the little loon is fattening up. But the fact that he was in Minnesota at all is a wonder.

Phil Jenni: “The only sighting ever of a red-throated loon in Minnesota in February.”

The loons spend their summers breeding in the Arctic Circle. They winter along the coasts and in the Great Lakes, but with the Great Lakes all but fully covered in ice this year, open water around here is hard to find. This loon likely came west toward Isanti County in search of just that.

Phil Jenni: “They need access to fish, and unless they have an auger and an ice house, there aren't any fish in Minnesota.”

No open water also means no place to land.

Phil Jenni: “It’s like a common loon in that it's a diver. Its legs are very far back on the body. They kind of get grounded. It's very difficult for them to take off.”

Once healthy enough for travel, the loon will be sent to a facility in New Jersey and will eventually be released back into open waters.

Tags: