Loon rescued by firefighters in Star Lake

Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 4:32 PM EST
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STAR LAKE, New York (WWNY) - It was Christmas Eve when the Star Lake Fire Department got a loony call.

“I got a phone call from a resident on the back side of the lake of what they thought was a loon stuck in a water hole,” said Rick Rusaw, Star Lake Fire Chief.

Rescuers suited up and cut a runway in the ice so the flustered fowl could take flight. But a few days later:

“We got a call from the Adirondack Loon Conservation group asking if we’d be able to assist them because they got another call that the loon was still there. So of course we said yes,” said Rusaw.

Back out they went after the lost loon.

“We had three guys that were in the water at the time to try to narrow down where the bird may resurface, because he kept swimming underwater and coming up for an air break,” said Rusaw.

After a half hour, rescuers netted the bird and started an evaluation.

“He was pretty calm. It was almost like he was thinking we were there to help,” said Rusaw.

Expecting an injury was to blame, rescuers found none, and chalked up the bird’s struggle to adolescence.

“When they checked him over they said he looked fine, they were wondering if he was a yearling and just hadn’t gotten the point of learning to fly yet,” said Rusaw.

But turns out, he is a she, and an adult, who was perhaps clumsy at taking off. She just needed some help from Star Lake firefighters.

“It’s one of those neat once-in-a-lifetime deals. We get tasked and asked to do several different things throughout the fire service. When we got done, it was like checking off another box. You’re not going to get that experience elsewhere,” said Rusaw.

The loon gets a happy ending. The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation rehabilitated her to Lake Champlain where she can enjoy open water all year round.

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