Ice storm grounds Northwoods loons - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ice storm grounds Northwoods loons

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ANTIGO (WAOW) -

The long, cold winter has grounded a Northwoods bird, but a group in Antigo is trying to help it get back in the sky.

A loon is a bird that lives in water and flies in the sky, but an ice storm two weeks ago has many of them grounded.

"They get encased in ice basically, like a cocoon, and they start flying slower, and heavy and more difficult to fly," said Raptor Education Group Executive Director Marge Gibson. That group is dedicated to helping injured birds.

One loon at the center was released at a lake on Tuesday after being rescued weeks ago.

Gibson told Newsline 9 it takes a lot to get the birds back in the wild.

"Get them eating again, make sure their digestive system is working again, and then they go back out into the water," she said. 

Gibson says close to 65 loons have come into the center in the last few weeks, with some coming as recently as Sunday.

Richard and Cathleen McCarthy found a loon near their home and named her Summit. Experts say the bird is close to 25 years old and was underweight after the storm. Now, she's back in the wild once again.

"This is so exciting and that's why I'm so grinny. It's exciting to see them well," said Cathleen McCarthy.

The center in Antigo is just a temporary home. Organizers say releasing recovered birds into the wild is rewarding.

"You're free baby, you're free," Gibson said as the bird was released back into the water.

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Raptor Education Group: http://www.raptoreducationgroup.org/

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