August 11 – 17, 2023Vol. 25, No. 9

What Makes a Loon Project Volunteer?

Capt’n Stevens at the conclusion of a successful Great Pond oon survey.

by Dick Greenan

Needless to say, our loon project volunteers are the very heart of the Belgrade Lakes Association’s Loon Preservation Project. Five years ago, in our inaugural year of the project, Great Pond resident Dennis Stevens called with a welcomed sighting of Great Pond’s only surviving chick, after we thought we had lost all three to various maladies. And that chick fledged and successfully flew the coop in October. Well, Dennis surfaced again last week by taking our team of Colby interns, faculty member, and yours truly out for a loon survey via pontoon boat of Great Pond. What a class act! Thank you once again, Dennis!

Loon volunteers come in all sizes and shapes!! The astute stakeholder/volunteer will email/text a photo of a new chick in a particular territory, or note one of the many fights due to territorial intrusions from another adult in an attempt to steal a territory as well as a new mate. Where’s the romance in that??!!! In addition, volunteers will report loons that appears in distress, beached, entangled in fishing line, etc.

Board member Andy Cook with a family of new loon volunteer recruits.

We also want to extend our thanks and appreciation to those volunteers this year that have kindly shared their kayaks with our two Colby College Loon Project interns, so that they may more effectively survey a territory for nests, assess nest integrity, egg abandonment, chick survival in addition to just monitoring their behavior for a better understanding of our loon population.

So you ask, “How can I be a loon volunteer? Does it require training in advance?” It’s really easy and takes just a phone call to (207) 512‑5150 or an email to with your observation at a particular date, time, and location. If you would like to assist in weekly surveys of a particular territory ,then please share your availability whether it be weekly during the summer, for the month of August, etc. For training in the interim, we highly recommend Loon Lessons”, by Jim Paruk, available at our very own Oliver & Friends Bookshop, right here in the Belgrade Lakes Village.

A Long Pond male banded in 2023 defends his territory, wife, and chick from an intruding loon.

My better half would not let me forget her contribution to our loon project, and when I inquired at what that might be, I was reprimanded and told in so many words that her cooking for our Expert Loon Consultant, Lee Attix, who stays with us during his overnights in Belgrade, “providing fresh flowers in his room each night and don’t forget the chocolate covered almonds that Lee loves and don’t forget all of those meals!” OK! I get it!! Thank you Sue, our #1 Loon Volunteer!!

Another 2023 heart-warming scene, a loon parent offers food to a chick.

We want to thank all of our loon volunteers, without whom we would not have this all- important project and be able to properly record, document and assess the health and well-being of our loon population.

If you have a particular question regarding our Belgrade loon population, please email your inquiry to, and we will try to answer your question either in this column or via email.

Dick Greenan is chairman of the Belgrade Lakes Association’s Loon Preservation Project.

©2023 by Summertime in the Belgrades. All rights reserved.