A loon with a chick on its back makes its way across Pierce Pond near North New Portland in 2007. 

PORTLAND — Maine Audubon says bird counters are finding more loon chicks in the state in recent years.

Maine has at least 2,000 pairs of loons, and conservationists have looked to relocate some loon chicks to other states where the birds’ population is smaller.

Audubon says counters found 384 chicks last year. That was a 76 percent increase from the estimate for the prior year, and the third-highest chick estimate from the last 15 years.

Nearly 900 counters contributed data from more than 300 lakes and ponds around the state. They also found 2,848 adults. Audubon says that is about 7 percent lower than the average from the previous five years, but long term population trends remain encouraging.

Migrating loons will be returning to Maine’s lakes and ponds soon.

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