On the first day of spring, we were treated to a cardinal singing its spring song high in the bare treetop. It was a cheerful sound filled with promises of open water and budding leaves just around the corner!

We are seeing more swans enjoying the leftovers in the stubble of the picked corn fields on the prairie and then the loud trumpeting as they fly above on their way to open streams for evening. Soon we will hear the haunting call of the common loons as they return to our lakes from their southern wintering grounds.

Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Association (COLA) was delighted to learn from Andrew Herberg, DNR nongame wildlife specialist, that the Loon Watcher Survey is re-launching in 2020 after a brief hiatus in 2019.

If you would like to participate in the Loon Watcher Survey on a lake this summer, please call Andrew at 218-203-4371 or email andrew.herberg@state.mn.us. For more information on the DNR program, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/projects/loon_survey.html.

COLA will NOT be coordinating its own loon-monitoring program this summer now that the DNR has re-started the Loon Watcher Survey.

A way that we can help loons and swans is to minimize the use of lead tackle. These water birds use pebbles that they scoop up from the lake bottom in order to help grind their food. If we lose a lead sinker through a broken line, for example, it could be scooped up by accident. Water birds can die from lead poisoning. There is extensive information about the new “Get The Lead Out” program and the research behind it by the Minnesotal Pollution Control Agency at www.pca.state.mn.us/living-green/nontoxic-tackle-lets-get-lead-out.

If you are outfitting the next generation fisherman or fisherwoman in your family, why not consider using the non-toxic tackle available right here in Park Rapids?

Look for our upcoming COLA events and meetings for the open-water season on our website: www.HubbardColaMN.org.