COLD SPRING, Minn. (AP) -

Experts say it's too soon to be sure about how Minnesota's loons and other migratory birds fared in the Gulf of Mexico over the winter.

Many bird-watchers have been worried about the impact of the BP oil spill.

But Pam Perry, a wildlife specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, says early reports give reason for optimism. She tells the St. Cloud Times (http://bit.ly/kFhvph) that while it's all anecdotal, she's hearing reports from people that loons on their lakes are coming back.

Baker says more-conclusive answers will come sometime after July. That's when the DNR conducts its annual statewide survey of Minnesota's state bird.

Baker says the loon population has been fairly stable. If the survey shows a sharp drop this year, Baker says, that could be a red flag.

Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com