• ProjectsLakes and PondsCommon Loon ConservationLoonWatchParticipate

    Join LoonWatch

    LoonWatch volunteers have many options for joining VCE in the conservation of Common Loons. Whether you live alongside a lake or only occasionally visit your favorite pond, here are a few volunteer options:


    LoonWatch volunteer Shannon Maes on Lyford Pond

    Annual July LoonWatch

    Survey a lake for one hour on the third Saturday of July—or if you’ve got time, survey a few lakes. On this single day, we cover more than 160 lakes and ponds statewide each year. It’s the single most effective way for VCE to document and track breeding loons across the state. Our next July LoonWatch will be Saturday, July 18, 2020. To get an assignment for the annual LoonWatch, contact our loon biologist, Eric Hanson. Eric keeps a list of lakes where we need volunteers. (Note that this list will change as lakes are assigned or become available.)


    On lakes with nesting pairs or other known loon activity, volunteers monitor loons weekly or every two or three weeks from mid-May through August. On lakes with loon activity but no nests, volunteers visit and monitor the pair one to four times a month from mid-May to mid-July. This program is great for folks who have summer camps on lakes or live nearby. More than one volunteer can adopt a lake. Read this introduction letter from Eric Hanson, and contact Eric for more information.

    Casual Surveys

    Good science includes not finding what you may be seeking. That means watching lakes without known loon activity to see if a loon pair might be investigating for territory establishment. 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 known loon activity but no regular monitoring. There’s no need to contact us for a casual survey and you can report your sightings on Vermont eBird. Here are documents for volunteers:

    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.

    Volunteer Hours Reporting Form

    Our work on loon conservation is supported by a matching grant. Reporting your hours helps us to fulfill this grant and conserve loons.