Loons can only be captured for analysis and banding at night with their chick present. Once the adult loon(s) with their chick(s) are spotted with a high powered spotlight, the biologists in their boat approach the adult with chick slowly while keeping the spotlight on the subject loon and chick while making chick calls. The call in addition to the light attracts the loons to the boat. Once the adult loon is aside of the boat, the loon is captured in a large rubberized net and its head and beak secured with a towel wrap to protect the loon as well as the biologists. The chick is also then captured and retained in a towel lined box until the adult is ready to be returned to the water at which time both are released and observed swimming away together.
The average capture takes about thirty minutes whereby two vials of blood are taken in addition to three feather samples, its weight, beak length, leg diameter measurements, etc. Two individually colored bands are then placed on each leg and the loon is released. Bandings are an integral necessity for monitoring loon behaviors, longevity, nesting success, territory stability, etc.