Two loons have died in New Hampshire this summer from ingesting lead fishing tackle. This comes after the state strengthened a law earlier in the season to restrict lead fishing gear.
New Hampshire Fish and Game reports that the two birds died in lakes near Lempster and Stoddard. Metal jigs and fishing line were found inside the loons' gizzards, and lab tests showed fatal amounts of lead in their blood.
Ingesting lead bait is the leading cause of adult loon mortality in the granite state. Loons reproduce late in their lives, so the chance that they could die of lead poisoning before having offspring is relatively great. And that poses a serious threat to the overall loon population.
The Loon Preservation Committee and New Hampshire Fish and Game are now helping anglers switch to lead-free bait by providing an array of safe alternatives, such as tackle made of steel, tungsten, or tin.