Biologists compiling numbers from loon count

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Bird watchers are helping biologists get a count of the number of loons in the state through the annual Vermont Loonwatch.

About 200 volunteers searched 150 lakes, ponds and reservoirs on Saturday to look for the loons, which until 2005 were on Vermont’s endangered species list.

The loon watch is run by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

The first loon watch was held in 1983 and 29 loons were spotted. Last year the figure was 218.

Experts say the biggest threats to breeding loons and their chicks are shoreline development, lead sinkers, boats and high levels of mercury and other toxins.

It will be about three weeks before the results of Saturday’s search are known.

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