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Introduction Since 1983 Inexplicably
Michael S. Quinton
Photograph - Digital Image
INTRODUCTION Since 1983 inexplicably large numbers of dead and dying common l oons (Gavia immer) have been found along Florida's Gulf Coast. Under threat fr om acid rain, lake pollution, and human encroachment, their numbers are declini ng elsewhere as well. Lake acidification has resulted in fewer fish, the birds' principal f ood. More insidiously, it increases the rate at which mercury in ponds is toxi fied; the poisonous methylmercury enters the food chain and is eventually inges ted by the loon. It attacks the bird's nervous system, hindering its ability to feed and reproduce. ----- LEGEND A tiny chick is fed by its parent as they bob on a la ke or pond -- perhaps as a reward for venturing into the water on its own. The adult wears breeding plumage in this extraordinarily charming picture.
September 27th, 2011
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