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Audubon counting Maine’s loons, which seem to be on mend

More than 1,000 volunteers head to the state’s lakes and ponds to count the birds every year.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this July 2007 file photo, a loon with a chick on its back makes its way across Pierce Pond near N. New Portland, Maine. Maine's loon tally could go down this year following last year's record numbers because of the wet spring, according to an Audubon official. Up to 1,000 volunteers across the southern half of the state aim to find out Saturday as they scout out lakes and ponds in Maine Audubon's 28th annual loon count. Loon surveys are being held the same day in New Hampshire and Vermont. Southern Maine's adult loon population has grown steadily in the past 25 years, with last year's count of 3,220 about double the number in the mid-1980s (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

PORTLAND, Maine — It’s time to count the loons.

Maine Audubon is holding its annual count of the state’s common loons on Saturday. The 2019 Loon Count is a tool that helps conservationists in the state get an idea of how the vulnerable birds are doing.

Recently, signs have been good. Maine Audubon found last year that were 3,269 adult loons and 406 loon chicks in the southern half of Maine. The count has been going on for more than three decades, and those are some of the highest totals.

More than 1,000 volunteers head to the state’s lakes and ponds to count the birds every year. The birds are vulnerable to environmental pollutants such as lead fishing tackle, which has been banned in Maine.