PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - One of Maine's most beloved birds is continuing a steady rebuild of its population.
Maine Audubon says the results of its 2018 loon count yielded the second-highest estimate of adult loons recorded since the count began in 1984. The estimate for loon chicks is also the fifth highest on record.
Maine Audubon estimates that there are 3,269 adult loons and 406 loon chicks in the southern half of Maine, which is the part of the state served by the annual count. The group produces the count with the help of a group of volunteers who count loons on lakes and ponds every July.
Loon populations have suffered in the U.S. due to environmental pollutants, such as lead fishing tackle. Maine banned lead sinkers in 2002 and later strengthened that law.