Residents in northern Wisconsin are reporting increasing instances of loons falling out of the sky, with cold weather conditions affecting the migrating birds.
According to the Raptor Education Group, a Wisconsin-based non-profit organization, the “loon fallout” occurs when ice develops on the bird’s bodies as they fly at high altitudes in cold temperatures.
As ice develops on their bodies, the accumulating weight incapacitates the birds’ ability to fly, leading to them seemingly falling out of the middle of the sky.
Residents who are encountering fallen loons are encouraged to contact a local wildlife center, and are asked not to release the loons to small ponds, as there is not enough space for the birds to then take flight.
Loons can be difficult to handle, and have sharp beaks that they use for their defense. The loons can be transported in Rubbermaid-type containers with air holes on the top.