Hundreds of volunteers will head to lakes across the state Saturday for an annual census of New Hampshire's loons. The count is organized by the Loon Preservation Committee, a New Hampshire-based non-profit.
The state's overall loon population has been slowly increasing for decades, but some lakes are still seeing losses. Wildlife officials hope a tighter ban on lead tackle that went into effect last year will help reduce the number of loon deaths. Researchers are also looking at whether algal blooms could be harming the birds.
Michael Riese lives on Goose Pond in Canaan and has been helping with the annual census for years. He was disappointed when heavy rains earlier this month wiped out two nests on Goose Pond. Like so many others, he's just entranced by the birds.
"The world quiets down at night, there's no noise - there's no sound, and all of a sudden you hear the loons," he said. "It's fantastic."