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Loon Survey Program

Volunteers are Needed!


GCOLA conducts three loon surveys each year, the Nest Survey, the Adult Loon and Chick Survey, and the Juvenile Loon Survey. This work is done in cooperation with the DNR’s Minnesota Loon Restoration Project. Volunteers are needed to help with each of these surveys, and it is fun and rewarding! It is also a great way to get kids involved in protecting Minnesota’s state bird! The surveys help us gather important data on nesting, reproduction success, adult and chick numbers, and end of season juvenile loon survival rates. The data is analyzed and used to support conservation efforts that are part of GCOLA’s Loon Management Plan.


2023 Loon Survey Dates


  • Nest Survey: May 22 – June 5. This window allows us to capture early and late nesters, and volunteers may need to survey early and later in the window.

  • Adult and Chick Survey: July 24 (Rain Day, July 25)

  • Juvenile Survey: August 28 (Rain Day, August 29)


Survey Details


  • Detailed written instructions, maps, and survey forms will be provided to volunteers.

  • Volunteers are typically assigned to lake areas closest to their homes, but we may need some people to survey sections of Gull Lake without volunteers.

  • It is best to survey with at least one partner. Loon nests can be especially difficult to spot!

  • Binoculars are helpful!


How to Volunteer


To volunteer for one or more of the surveys, please email

Please note which survey or surveys you would like to do, and the lake or area of Gull Lake you would prefer to survey. For example, Gull Lake, Booming Out Bay, or Gull Lake, west side, Rocky Pt to Bloody Cove.  Please note if you are willing to survey outside of your area.  Your help will be most appreciated!


2014 to 2021 Loon Survey Results
Click here to read a detailed report about loons on the Gull Lake Chain.

Click here to read the 2019 report
Click here to read the 2021 report

Click here to read the 2014-2021 nest data

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