2021 annual loon count July 17

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2021 Annual Loon Count is July 17. (Photo by Daniel Marquis)

RANGELEY – The 38th annual loon count is officially coming up. In partnership with Maine Audubon, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust will coordinate volunteers throughout the Rangeley Lakes Region.

“This year we’re really hoping to get a lot more ground (well, technically water) covered. We have over 40 survey areas that still need volunteers. That includes the entirety of Aziscohos (12 survey areas) and Umbagog Lake (14 survey areas). The large size and lack of coverage on these two lakes put them at the top of the priority list,” said Hanz Berger, regional coordinator.

“Although if you prefer something smaller or closer to home, we have plenty of options, including Pond, Beaver Pond, Big Island Pond, Cow Pond, East Richardson Ponds, Kamankeag Pond, L Pond, Long Pond, Lower/Middle/Upper Sandy River Ponds, Round Pond, and Spencer Pond.”

The loon count is an annual event coordinated by Maine Audubon all over the southern half of the state. More than 1,000 volunteers participate in the count, looking out for loons, nests and chicks. This count gives us a general idea of loon populations in Maine. Monitoring loon populations helps us to better understand and protect the health of loons, which are one of the most beautiful and iconic birds of Maine’s waterways.

The count takes place on the third Saturday of July, starts at 7 and ends at 7:30. This is a coordinated effort so as to avoid any duplicate counts. “On the day of, hundreds of volunteers will be on the lookout for loons, nests, and chicks, but with 6,000 ponds and lakes, there’s still a lot of water that doesn’t get covered. (AKA, loon counters will always be in high demand),” Berger said.

Those interested in participating in this citizen science effort can contact Berger at headwaters@rlht.org.

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