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The Maine Loon Project


nesting-loons-june-leduc Common Loons are one of Maine’s most charismatic wildlife species, representing the wild and remote nature of much of our great state. The Maine Loon Project has worked for decades to assess the status and future of Maine’s loon population, from annual loon counts to advocacy in the state legislature. Staff and our citizen scientists have worked to promote clean water, healthy lakes and quality habitat for loon populations today and into the future.

Participate in the Annual Loon Count

On the morning of the third Saturday of July each year, more than 900 volunteers venture onto lakes and ponds across the state to count loons. Their reports provide an excellent “snapshot” of Maine’s loon population. To sign up for this year’s count, contact Susan Gallo at (207) 781-6180 x. 216 or e-mail sgallo@maineaudubon.org with your name, address and the lake or general area where you would like to count.  We would love to have your help!

View Loon Count Results

Thanks to volunteer Chris Kittredge- Corson GIS Solutions, we now have an exciting way to view loon count results. Click on the map below and look for any lake with active loon counts (highlighted in darker blue). Clicking on those lakes will pop-up a table with loon count results over the last three decades. Search by town to zoom to lakes in your area or pan around the state and see where the loons are each year.

Maine Loon Map

Browse 2013 and past data with our new map »

Common Loons in the Classroom Curriculum

Maine Audubon has developed a classroom curriculum for grades 3 through 6 centered around the loon and its lake habitat. For more information, visit the Common Loons in the Classroom page.

Help Assess Loon Habitat Quality

As a result of a 2012-13 TogetherGreen Fellowship, Susan Gallo, wildlife biologist and director of the Maine Loon Project at Maine Audubon, has put together a Citizen Science initiative to rank lake habitat quality for loons. She is looking for volunteers who would like to go out on Maine lakes and spend a few hours assessing different habitat factors, like level of lakeside development, recreational use of the lake and loon nesting sites. Visit the Habitat Quality pages for everything you need to get started, including the instructions and datasheet .

Spread the Word!

There are lots of ways you can help with the outreach and education activities of the Maine Loon Project. Schedule a presentation of “The State of Maine’s Loons” for your local garden club, lake association or civic group. This 45-minute multi-media presentation walks you through a year in the life of a loon in Maine and features stunning photographs from recent loon photo contests at Maine Audubon. You can also distribute “Living in Loon Territory” brochures to your town office, library or lake association meeting. This large-format brochure has information about how to live alongside loons and highlights times of the year when they or their chicks are most vulnerable. For more information about any of these outreach efforts, contact Susan at sgallo@maineaudubon.org or (207) 781-6180 x.216. Thanks for your help!

If You Find an Injured Loon…

We receive reports every summer of injured loons on our lakes and ponds or loons with their bills wrapped in fishing line. Unfortunately, Maine Audubon does not have the staff, expertise or equipment to help with any loon “rescues.” The Warden Service at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife may be able to help or biologists from Biodiversity Research Institute are sometimes out trapping loons and may be able to assist if it is convenient to their work site.

If You Find a Dead Loon…

The Wildlife Clinic at Tufts University (MA) collects dead loons from across New England to determine the cause of death. If you find a dead loon and you are willing to collect the body, please double wrap it in two garbage bags and get it into a freezer ASAP.  The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is usually willing to share freezer space if you can get the carcass to one of their regional offices. Either way, please call Susan Gallo at (207) 781-6180 x. 216 to let her know so she can add you to the Maine Audubon permit for bird collections.