FALMOUTH – Maine Audubon and the state fish and game department launched their first loon count on Maine’s lakes in 1983.
The 24th annual count gets under way Saturday morning when more than 800 volunteers head out on Maine’s lakes and ponds. The exercise helps Maine Audubon to create a snapshot of the size and health of Maine’s loon population.
Maine has the largest loon census in the Northeast, but it has very low productivity compared to neighboring states. Last July, southern Maine’s loon population estimate was 2,595 adults, a 14% decline. In New Hampshire, the statewide total last year was 530.
Shoreline development, lead sinkers, boats, and high levels of mercury and other toxins are the biggest threats to breeding loons and their chicks.