The Maine Loon Project has worked for decades to assess the status and safeguard the future of Maine’s loon population.
As part of this work, we monitor the health of Maine’s loons through citizen science initiatives including the annual Loon Count and Signs of the Seasons. We also work to promote clean water, healthy lakes, and quality habitat for loon populations through initiatives such as Loon Smart and Fish Lead Free.
Unfortunately, Maine Audubon is not equipped to assist with loon “rescues.” Here’s what to do if you have found a dead or injured loon.
Loon monitoring programs
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 as part of our annual Loon Count. The observations recorded by our citizen scientist volunteers provides an excellent “snapshot” of Maine’s loon population.
Signs of the Seasons
To boost observations and reports for loons and their chicks throughout the summer, Maine Audubon is partnering with the University of Maine on the Signs of the Seasons Phenology Program. Volunteers are tracking the changes they see in loon families (when chicks hatch and how they age through the summer) using the online tool Nature’s Notebook.
Loon outreach and education programs
Bring in a guest speaker
A great way to spread the word about loons is to schedule a 45-minute multimedia presentation on “The State of Maine’s Loons” for your local garden club, lake association, or civic group. Contact Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.781.6180 x216 to book a talk or to request brochures for distribution.
Loon Smart is a partnership with the Maine Lakes Society that offers Lake Smart homeowners the opportunity to meet additional standards for their property that will help conserve loons and their habitat. To learn more about Loon Smart and how to bring Lake Smart to your community, contact Maggie Shannon at the Maine Lakes Society 207.495.2301 or email email@example.com.
Common Loons in the Classroom
Maine Audubon has developed a classroom curriculum for grades 3 through 6 centered around the loon and its lake habitat.
The Fish Lead-Free initiative coordinates lead-free outreach across the northern tier of the United States. Maine’s efforts include:
- Managing a cooperative website (www.fishleadfree.org)
- Making lead-free tackle exchange kits available to any individual or group that wants to host an exchange or collection event
- Providing tackle boxes for kids stocked with lead-free tackle
- Offering presentations to groups interested in learning more about loons and the impacts of lead
To learn more, email Susan Gallo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things you can do to be loon-friendly
- Obey the no-wake law within 200 feet of shore.
- Use lead-free tackle (good alternatives are made of steel, tin, and bismuth).
- Dispose of fishing line so it does not get tangled up in a loon’s feet or bill.
- If you live on a lake, use phosphorus-free fertilizer and plant shrubs as a buffer along the shoreline to reduce run-off.
- If you see a loon on a nest, keep your distance and watch with binoculars.
- Keep garbage out of reach of loon egg predators, like skunks and raccoons.