(Host) The annual loon census this weekend is expected to show that about 200 adult loons live on Vermont’s lakes and ponds.
In 1983 the first loon census counted only 29 of the iconic birds. Eric Hanson is a field biologist for the Vermont center for Ecostudies. He manages the Vermont Loon Recovery Program.
Loons often return to the same nesting site year after year. Hanson says because they nest just a few inches above the waterline, the spring flooding meant that many birds couldn’t use their sites as early as usual.
(Hanson) "Everything was delayed quite a bit, almost 20 to 30 percent delay in sites. Birds weren’t able to find their sites because they were underwater or right at waterline so they either waited or they built new sites and that all took a little extra time."
(Host) Despite the delay, Hanson is encouraged by nesting loon numbers. He says the resurgence of the loon population has been so successful that there’s been some talk of changing the name of the recovery program. But Hanson says there will always be a need to monitor and maintain loon habitat.
(Hanson) "Our lakes in Vermont are only getting busier and more developed and because loons nest right where we like to recreate, right where we like to be active on the shorelines, there’s always going to be some sort of a loon program."
(Host) Hanson says the Loon Recovery Program has filled all the volunteer slots for this weekend’s census, which will include every pond larger than 30 acres.