Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) : Institut de recherche du Mersey Tobeatic

MTRI - Projects - Freshwater - Loonwatch


MTRI is a non-profit co-operative with a mandate to promote sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve and beyond through research, education, and the operation of a field station.

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What is the LoonWatch program all about?

The Common loon is a highly visible water bird inhabiting many of the lakes within the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve.  It is an icon of wilderness and people are captivated by its beauty and haunting call.  Concerns have been raised about the health of loons after research conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Service found that our Nova Scotia loons have the highest blood mercury concentrations of any loon population in North America.  These levels have been associated with impaired reproduction and altered breeding behavior in some areas.  Besides the bio-accumulation of mercury, loons are sensitive to lake water acidification, water level fluctuations and human disturbance.  LoonWatch surveys began on park lakes within Kejimkujik in 1996.  In 2006, the program was expanded to the greater landscape through MTRI, where volunteers are trained to observe and record loon activity and breeding success on an assigned lake throughout the summer using a national protocol developed by Bird Studies Canada.  These two program components will provide a picture of how well loon populations are doing in the region.

If you have a lake and you would like to monitor for loons, consider becoming a LoonWatcher. To become a LoonWatcher, contact the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute and ask for a LoonWatch package for the lake you would like to monitor. Your LoonWatch package will provide you with a data sheet to fill in for the summer months along with a map of the lake you wish to monitor.



Program objectives



Inside Kejimkujik:

Outside Kejimkujik:


2014 Results

Inside Kejimkujik:

Outside Kejimkujik:


2013 Results

Inside Kejimkujik:

Outside Kejimkujik:


Years of Data




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