LoonWatch volunteers watch for loons. It's that simple. And it's a vital component of loon conservation in Vermont. LoonWatch exemplifies VCE's passion for uniting citizens and science for conservation.
LoonWatch volunteers can join us for a single day during our annual loon count in July or monitor a lake or pond on a regular basis. In each case, LoonWatchers provide VCE with essential data on the management, protection, and continued recovery of Common Loons across Vermont. Here's how it works:
- Annual July LoonWatch – One the third Saturday in July of every year, LoonWatch volunteers take to the water to count loons. It’s the single most effective way for VCE to document and track breeding loons across the state. Our next July LoonWatch will be in July 2018 — check back for the date in early 2018.
- Adopt-a-Lake Program – Help monitor a lake with known loon activity. For lakes with nesting loon pairs, volunteers regularly monitor the nest weekly or every two or three weeks (depending on loon activity) from mid-May through August. On lakes with loon activity but no nests, volunteers visit and monitor the the pair one to four times a month from mid-May to mid-July.
- Casual Surveys – Good science includes not finding what you may be seeking. That means watching lakes without known loon activity to see if any loon pair might be investigating them for nest sites. These casual surveys are ideal for people who like to get out to lakes but may not have the time to consistently observe a lake throughout the summer. Casual survey volunteers also help us investigate lakes with loon activity but no regular monitoring.
- Loons on Vermont eBird – Any loon sighting is worth recording for science. Whether you join a LoonWatch effort or not, please add your loon encounters to the growing collection of data contributed by casual and expert birders alike on Vermont eBird.