MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H. — The Loon Preservation Committee says a third loon death this year in New Hampshire has been linked to lead poisoning.

The loon was found beached on Lake Winnipesaukee on Friday and when biologists examined the bird, X-rays found a lead fishing jig and blood tests showed toxic levels of the metal. The bird was immediately euthanized.

The preservation committee says a loon will die from lead poisoning two to four weeks after ingesting lead tackle. Lead accounts for more loon deaths than all other human factors combined.

Loons are threatened in New Hampshire and protected federally.

The preservation committee encourages the use of alternative fishing tackle and New Hampshire is the first state to restrict the sale of the easier-to-swallow small lead jigs.