PORTLAND — About 900 people are helping the Maine Audubon with its 30th annual loon count.

Volunteers are using binoculars at lakes and ponds to count the number of loons, as they have since 1983, with a goal of protecting loons and their habitat. Loon counts were also taking place in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Susan Gallo, director of the Maine Loon Project, says the number of chicks in the southern half of the state has not changed appreciably since 1983 and that the number actually dropped in recent years. She says this year’s count will determine if it’s the start of a trend.

Results from the loon count will be available this fall. The data will be used by the Maine Audubon and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

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