Common loon with chicks. Credit: Courtesy of Maine Audubon

PORTLAND, Maine — Bird counters found fewer loons in Maine this year than the two previous years, but the total population remains much stronger than three decades ago.

Maine Audubon organizes a loon count every year to get a handle on the health of the populations of the birds. Counters estimate the adult population is 2,974 for this year, the organization said. That’s 154 less than last year and 295 less than 2018.

Maine Audubon said a decline in two straight years is noteworthy, but the estimate remains almost double the number from three decades ago, when the count began. The state has created new environmental standards that favor the birds since then. They include restricting lead fishing tackle.

The group’s estimate for loon chicks grew from 372 to 414 this year. That’s about the same as the 2018 number.

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