The Maine Loon Project has worked for more than three decades to assess the status and safeguard the future of Maine’s loon population.
We work to promote clean water, healthy lakes, and quality habitat for loons and to understand trends in their population over time.
We collaborate with many projects and partners including Loon Smart with Maine Lakes Society, Signs of the Seasons with Maine Sea Grant, and the annual Loon Count with over 1,400 citizen scientists like you.
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
From 7 to 7:30 am of the third Saturday of July each year, more than 1,400 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, and the data we need to estimate an accurate population estimate over time.
2018 marks the 35th year that volunteers have been participating in this important data-gathering event. The loon project is proud to have a hearty corp of over 1,400 volunteers, more than 50 of whom have counted loons for 25 years or more! We will be celebrating 35 years of counting with t-shirt sales, certificates of recognition, a special series of loon informational talks, and more. Check back throughout the summer!
Signs of the Seasons
Maine Audubon is partnering with the University of Maine on the Signs of the Seasons Phenology Program to increase the number of observations of loons and their chicks throughout the summer. Volunteers are observing the changes they see in loon families (when eggs are laid, when chicks hatch and stages of growth 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.