We developed a satellite transmitter attachment technique for adult Common Loons (Gavia immer) that would help in identifying important migration routes, staging areas, and the location of wintering grounds of birds that breed in the north central United States. During the autumn and winter of 1998, the migration of six adult loons that were radio marked in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota was monitored. The results of this work offer insight into autumn movement patterns of Common Loons. Timing of autumn staging and migration to wintering grounds appeared to be related to low pressure systems that delivered winter weather to the Upper Midwest. Most of the radiomarked birds staged on the Great Lakes and then followed one of two distinct migration routes to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts. Several of the birds used lakes and reservoirs in the southeastern United States during migration. This study provides a basis for more extensive studies of Common Loon migration.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4