A loon with a chick. Credit: Courtesy of Maine Audubon

FALL RIVER, Massachusetts — A loon hatched for the first time in more than a century in southeastern Massachusetts thanks to a long-term effort to restore the traditional nesting grounds for the aquatic birds, wildlife officials said.

The chick hatched this spring in Fall River, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and Biodiversity Research Institute, a Portland, Maine-based group, announced Thursday.

Biodiversity Research Institute relocated loon chicks from Maine and New York to the Lakeville, Massachusetts, area back in 2015 in the hopes of re-establishing breeding and nesting patterns.

They said that appears to have worked because one of the relocated birds is the father of the newborn chick. Officials also say that nine of the 24 loon chicks originally translocated from Maine and New York have since returned to Massachusetts to mate.

David Evers, the institute’s executive director, said it’s “visible evidence that breeding loon populations can be restored to their former habitat.”

Common Loons are currently listed as a species of special concern under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act.

Since 1975, the birds have generally returned to breed in central Massachusetts waters, including the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs.

Loons were also among the shorebirds impacted by an oil barge spill in Buzzards Bay in southeastern Massachusetts in 2003.