Regional Status

Common loons were once described as a fairly common breeding species both east and west of the Cascade crest. Their breeding population appeared to have significantly declined between 1890 and 1925 in much of Washington. The declines are thought to have been the result of both hunting and habitat loss, as shoreline development eliminated nesting habitat.

The number of nests confirmed during surveys throughout Washington from 1990 to 1999 ranged from eight to ten annually. Human disturbance, including walking along shorelines, motor boat traffic, and fishing near shorelines, is likely to reduce loon productivity and may preclude nesting at sites that otherwise might be suitable.

Common loons are not listed under the Endangered Species Act, but are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The common loon is currently considered to be a sensitive species by Washington State.