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Black flies endager loons

Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Loons in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota are being forced to abandon their nests, due to what one researcher calls "an explosion of black flies." Professor Walter Piper of Chapman University in Orange California says the biting black flies have forced 70-percent of nesting loons in north central Wisconsin to leave their eggs. That's more than twice the previous high for abandonment since 1992.

Piper tells Minnesota Public Radio that the cold-and-snowy winter helped cause the proliferation of black flies -- and so did a cool spring and a sudden warming trend last month.

In Minnesota, the D-N-R said at least eight loon nests have been abandoned in the past two weeks. And biologists believe there are probably lots more.