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Volunteer loon counters head out to 350 Maine lakes for 'Loon Count Day'

More than 1,000 volunteers throughout the state counted loons this morning for Maine Audubon's loon study.

NEWPORT, Maine — Attracting more than one-thousand volunteers, in 350 lakes across the state!

Saturday, July 18th was Maine's annual Loon Count Day! Volunteers were out and about this morning writing down the number of loons the spotted them. Each boat had to register and had a specifically designated area to record their findings.

The loon count day is important:

  • To track the birds' population over time
  • An  indicator of how to clean Maine's lakes are.
  • To raise awareness about what harms them and their habits and what people can do to help them.

Maine Audubon biologists will collect the loon numbers marked by volunteers in the coming weeks. This will give them an updated view of the health of the Common Loon population, and compare them with past years.

Those results will be published on Maine Audubon's website in December.

This marks the 37th straight year that Maine Audubon works to find out the health of the loon population.

"Adults have almost doubled," says Tracy Hart a Maine Audobon Biologist.

Through this project, Maine Audubon works with residents and partners statewide to promote healthy lakes, clean water, and quality habitat for loons and to understand trends in their population over time.

"Our first year we had a count of 13, last year was 23 so that was exciting, and this year because of weather we counted just 11," said Sonja Frey, one of the volunteers.

"I grew up around loons pretty much all my life in the lake, just enjoy doing it with my mother," said Chris Frey, Sonja's son.

The Maine Seacoast Mission Family Food Center in Cherryfield is gear... ed up to help everybody living in coastal Washington County. "When the state shut down we saw a huge increase in the number of people calling and requesting food, it was about a 50 percent increase," said Wendy Harrington, the Director of Service Programs at Maine Seacoast Mission.

The health of the loon population in lakes is affected by:

  • Lead poisoning from lead tackle
  • Invasive plant species
  • Development along lake shores
  • Collission with speeding boats

"Going at slower speeds is really important on getting the word out about that, and then traveling at speeds that don't produce wakes because that can wash out nests," says Hart.

Maine Audubon told NEWS CENTER Maine, they won't know how many people participated this year until they release the results in December. The results will be posted here.

A link for all lakes since the count began can be found here.

Click here to learn more about the loon population in Maine.

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