Over the past summer, two loon eggs were left abandoned by parents. In order to support the long term health of loons in Maine, the WLA gathered these eggs and submitted them Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) for testing.
BRI tests abandoned loon eggs to measure mercury levels. Female loons flush mercury from their body into their eggs, and thus measuring the mercury in eggs gives an indication of the amount of mercury in the loons’ habitat. BRI has an extensive database going back decades to monitor egg mercury levels. Using this data, they also determine if the eggs are fertile, and the stage of development if an embryo is present. This is critical research in tracking the changing status of loon chick mortality.