Loon fallout: Weather causing birds to fall from sky in Wisconsin

Frigid temperatures are causing "loon fallout" as birds are falling from the sky in Wisconsin. (Source: WLUC)
Published: Apr. 22, 2023 at 11:38 AM CDT
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ANTIGO, Wis. (WLUC/Gray News) - Reports of loons falling out of the sky have been increasing in northern Wisconsin.

It’s a phenomenon known as “loon fallout,” according to the Raptor Education Group. The nonprofit says that the recent rain and ice in the area have created the perfect storm to affect the migrating birds.

Wildlife experts say the water birds can develop ice on their bodies during certain weather conditions that can weigh them down and cause them to fall to the ground.

Loons can only swim and fly, they can’t walk, so they need help when this happens.

Rescuers say they have found more than two dozen birds so far but loons can be difficult to handle as they have sharp beaks that they use for defense.

Wildlife experts recommend those who want to help a downed loon to use a blanket to contain the bird and transport them in a container with air holes in the top. Towels should be placed on the bottom of the container to cushion and prevent injury to the bird.

Loons require large bodies of water with at least a quarter mile of water to take off, experts say the birds should not be released in small ponds.

The Raptor Education Group can also be contacted at 715-623-4015 for more information.