More than 300 lakes and ponds were surveyed by more than 500 volunteers during this year’s census—up from 200 lakes and ponds last year. The data obtained during the census will be added and compared to those collected in years prior to gauge the status of the breeding loon population in and around the Adirondack Park and across New York State.
As part of an effort to better understand the status, structure and threats to the regional loon population, WCS initiated the loon census in 2001. One of the major findings of the annual census: The Adirondack loon population has almost doubled since the last pre-census analysis in the 1980s and now totals some 1,500-2,000 birds.
Presently, common loons are considered a “Species of Special Concern” in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and are listed as “Endangered” in Vermont and “Threatened” in New Hampshire and Michigan. Across the Northeast, they face myriad challenges including habitat loss, climate change, and threats from environmental toxins such as increasing mercury concentrations in the lakes where they live.
After review of the data forms sent in by volunteers, the results of the last 10 years of the loon census will be announced by WCS next spring. Censuses like the one conducted in the Adirondacks occurred in other northeastern states as well on Saturday to provide a more comprehensive look at population numbers throughout the region. The results of census efforts will help to guide management decisions and policies that affect loons.
If you’d like to join the census in 2011, contact WCS’ Adirondack Office at (518) 891-8872 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.