Annual Loon Census to be Held on July 17th
MOULTONBORUGH, New Hampshire—The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) will conduct its annual loon census on July 17th from 8:00–9:00 AM. The Loon Census began in 1983 as a way for LPC to bolster its season-long efforts to monitor the presence, abundance, and breeding success of loons by engaging members of the public in its work. During that hour, LPC staff and hundreds of volunteers throughout the state will take to the lakes to count loons.
“The Loon Census is a valuable part of our annual data collection,” said LPC biologist, Caroline Hughes. “It helps us to get a good count of the number of paired, as well as unpaired, adult loons and loon chicks that are present in our state.” Unpaired adult loons are those that do not develop a bond with a mate and defend a territory in a given year. Because they are not tied to a particular lake, they may spend time on many lakes, making it more difficult for biologists to get an accurate count during their surveys. “During the census, we have hundreds of volunteers surveying hundreds of water bodies at the exact same time, which helps us to get a snapshot in time of our loon population and nail down exactly how many of those unpaired adults we have in the state,” Hughes said. The Loon Census also helps LPC to monitor the progress of known loon nests, discover previously unknown nests, check on the survival of chicks that have hatched in the previous weeks, and detect new loon chicks that may have hatched since biologists last surveyed a given water body. Census results are incorporated into LPC’s summer-long monitoring, the results of which will be given in an end-of-season presentation livestreamed on the organization’s YouTube channel on August 26th.
New Hampshire’s Loon Census is part of a much larger regional effort—at the same time that biologists and volunteers are setting out on New Hampshire lakes, counterparts in Maine, Vermont, and New York will be out doing the same. Those who would like to take part in the New Hampshire segment of this region-wide effort to count loons should contact the Loon Preservation Committee at (603)476-5666 for more information.
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