WCS North America

Adirondack Loon Census

Accurate information about the status and trends of New York’s loon population is valuable to wildlife managers and those concerned about threats to loons, such as environmental toxins, disease, climate change, and development.  In order to assemble a regional profile of the loon population, WCS has been conducting a Loon Census each year since 2001, in partnership with other organizations, including the Biodiversity Research Institute, and with tremendous volunteer support from committed census observers. 

These data provide a quick glimpse of the annual status of the breeding loon population in and around the Adirondack Park and northern New York State. The results help guide management decisions and policies that affect loons.


  • Provide a regional snapshot of the loon population to guide management decisions and policies that affect loons.
  • Engage the public in loon conservation efforts.


Adirondack Loon Census: How to Participate

On the third Saturday of July, WCS conducts the census with the help of local Adirondack residents and visitor volunteers.  Observers sign up to monitor a particular lake from 8 – 9 AM on Census Day, and complete a census observation form indicating the number of adult loons, chicks, and immature loons they observe.  Observations made elsewhere in New York State are also welcome.  Similar loon censuses are also conducted in other states throughout the Northeast at the same time on the same day, contributing to a regional overview of the population’s current status.

Interested in helping out?  Each summer, volunteers are needed to help census loons on Adirondack Lakes!

Citizens interested in volunteering can select a lake from the lake selection table and contact us to sign up for an available lake by emailing adkloon@wcs.org or calling (518)891-8872.  We will need to know your name, address (or email) and phone number, and the lake where you would like to observe (including the town and county in which it is located.)  Lakes are available to observers on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please also download instructions for participating in the census and the census form. If you would like to return the form to us digitally, you may do so using the fillable form (requires Microsoft Word). 


  • We have conducted the loon census for ten years, surveying, on average, more than 200 lakes each year, with engagement by well over 500 volunteers. 
  • Census results reveal a relatively stable population estimated at approximately 2000 loons in the Adirondacks (see the results of past censuses for more detailed results).

Latest Publications

All Adirondacks Loon Conservation Publications >>

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Adirondack Communities and Conservation Program
Wildlife Conservation Society 132 Bloomingdale Avenue, Suite 2, Saranac Lake, NY, 12983 USA
(518) 891-8872