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Loon, pelican study approved

A major study is underway to learn more about the potential impacts of the recent gulf oil spill on two of Minnesota's migratory birds - common loons and American white pelicans.

"This project will help us learn if the oil spill has had a negative impact on loon and pelican populations," explained Carrol Henderson, supervisor of the Minnesota DNR Nongame Program, who will serve as project manager, "and if we need to initiate future conservation actions to protect and restore their numbers."

Minnesota wildlife biologists are particularly concerned about the potential long term impacts of the oil spill on common loons because most loons hatched in Minnesota in 2008 and 2009 would have been present in the Gulf of Mexico during the oil spill episode.