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Associated Press, Published June 14 2010

Gulf oil spill could affect migrating loons

ST. PAUL — Wildlife experts are concerned BP's environmental disaster in the Gulf could affect Minnesota's state bird.

Department of Natural Resource wildlife specialist Pam Perry says young loons from Minnesota reside in the Gulf for about three years before they're mature enough to migrate to Minnesota.

Mature looms in Minnesota will migrate to the Gulf Coast in late October and early November.

Perry says if the loon's feathers become coated with oil from the BP spill, it could weigh them down, causing them to drown.

Perry tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press that there have been discussions about putting satellite-tracking devices on some loons in Minnesota this year, perhaps in a joint effort with Wisconsin.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.