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Common Loon Citizen Science at Glacier National Park

Main Project Information
Presented By National Park Service Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center
Goal Provide park managers with long-term status data on common loons
Task Hike to lakes and conduct one-hour loon surveys in Glacier NP
Where Glacier National Park, United States of America Montana

The Common Loon Citizen Science Project needs volunteers to conduct surveys at 45 high priority lakes in Glacier National Park to document presence of common loons and observations of breeding and nesting behaviors. Citizen Scientists attend a one-day classroom and field based education program, where they learn about species identification, behavior, management concerns, and how to observe and document loons. They also learn how to use field equipment such as spotting scopes, compasses, and GPS receivers. Hiking distances to the sites range from along the roadside up to fifteen miles. Once they reach the lake, Citizen Scientists observe for one hour and document loon sightings and behavior.

Common Loons are a Montana Species of Special Concern, and Glacier National Park harbors about 20 percent of Montana’s breeding pairs. Loons are susceptible to adverse impacts by human disturbance at nest and nursery sites. The Common Loon Citizen Science Project helps to identify factors that affect nesting success. The contribution of citizen scientists to the long-term record of loon population health is invaluable in providing a scientific basis for management recommendations, especially in regards to issues that may affect loon nesting success and habitat.

How to Join

For information on how to get started, contact:

Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center
P.O. Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936
Fax: (406)888-7903
Phone: (406) 888-7986

You can download the Common Loon Observation Form from the project website:

Project Timing Annually May - August
Ideal Age Group High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families, Seniors
Ideal Frequency Just once
Average Time An hour or so
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity On a hike
Training Materials
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags common loon, conservation, gavia immer, glacier national park, glacier park, hiking, lakes, loon, loons, montana, national park, national park service, nps, park, parks, waterbirds, wildlife
Project Updated 05/23/2018