Biting fly explosion affects loon reproduction
MILWAUKEE - Swarms of biting flies are attacking loons in northern Wisconsin this season like never before, causing the birds to abandon their nests in record numbers.
Wildlife scientists who track the tuxedoed birds say the black fly population exploded just as the loons began incubating their eggs and has caused more than 80 percent of the loons to abandon their nests in Vilas County and more than 70 percent of nests in Oneida County.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources researcher Michael Meyer says a species of black flies has a particular attraction to loons and have always pestered them in the past, but nothing like this year. Meyer says the intensity of the flies is the worst he's seen in 25 years.