Since 1998, Eric Hanson has been the conservation biologist for the Vermont Center for Ecostudies coordinating the Vermont Loon Recovery Project. He has conducted research on the Common Loon since 1992. His early work in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota focused on basic biological questions: do loons mate for life, how old are loons when they first breed, what is happening when groups of loons gather, are male and female roles in raising young similar? To begin answering these questions, Hanson spent two years as part of team capturing loons and placing color bands on their legs for identification purposes. When the loons were captured, blood and feather samples were also taken to determine if the birds were susceptible to environmental contaminants. He has now shifted his focus to loon conservation in Vermont, including educational programs, management efforts to promote breeding loons, and studies on potential threats to loons. When not chasing loons or working with Vermont’s several hundred loon volunteers, he teaches courses on animal tracking, winter predators, hawks and owls, the literature of conservation, ecology of Vermont, and ornithology. In the winter months, he takes care of the cross country ski trails at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
As a side interest, Hanson and his wife spent 2 years working on sheep and cow dairy farms gaining an understanding of how all parts of life are deeply interconnected—people, food and sustenance, wildlife, farmland, forests, lakes, ponds, and loons.
B.A. Biology – Environmental Science, Colby College, Waterville, ME, 1989
M.S. Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, 1996
Hanson, E.W. 1996. Monitoring the Common Loon population in Minnesota: assessment of the 1994 and 1995 survey results, the accuracy of volunteers and aerial surveys, and the power of detecting trends. M.S. thesis. Univ. of Minnesota. 206 pp.
Hanson, E.W. and J. Buck. 2011. The 2011 breeding status of Common Loons in Vermont. Unpubl. report. Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Norwich, VT and Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Waterbury, VT.