Published DateMOULTONBOROUGH — On Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Loon Center in Moultonborough, the Lakes Region Chapter of the Audubon Society of New Hampshire will present a program titled "Loons and Lead (Don't Mix)."
Lead fishing tackle is killing New Hampshire's loons. Loons have long lives, delay breeding until 6-7 years old, and have only about one chick surviving per pair every other year. Adult survival is by far the largest factor limiting the recovery of New Hampshire's loon population, and lead is the biggest problem.
Harry Vogel, Executive Director of the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) will give a presentation about the scientific research on lead poisoning in New Hampshire's loon population, followed by Attorney Sheridan Brown, the LPC's Government Relations Consultant. He will speak on current efforts to change the law in the state, and what the public can do to help. The combination of loons, lead, and legislators is a biological and political stewpot.
Unfortunately, at least 124 adult loons died after swallowing lead sinkers and jigs between 1989 and 2011; these are only the ones that were found. Forty-nine percent of the dead adult loons collected by the LPC died as a result of swallowing lead fishing tackle.
The lead goes into the loon's gizzard, where the grinding action and acid erodes it. It then goes into the blood and organs and poisons the loon. Even a single small lead split shot is fatal to loons, which will die within a month. Small lead sinkers have been banned in New Hampshire, but loons are still dying from them, and from unregulated lead jigs.
The LPC is trying to have the law changed to address the jig problem; Senate Bill 89 about this issue passed unanimously in the NH Senate on March 13. It soon goes to the NH House, which killed a similar bill last year.
For more information, see http://www.loonbill.org/
The Loon Center is located on Lee's Mill Road; follow the signs from Route 109 or from Route 25 near the Moultonborough Central School. Refreshments will be served.