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Jul 23, 2016 1:54 PM

Conservationists hope to bring beloved bird back

The Associated Press

WINDHAM, Maine — The common loon's haunting wail that pierced the dusk on Massachusetts lakes disappeared long ago.

Today, the birds number fewer than 50 pairs in the Bay State and conservationists are hoping to rebuild their population, starting with a handful of chicks from Maine and New York.

The Restore the Call program at the Biodiversity Research Institute in Portland plans to move 10 chicks to an area south of Boston this summer.

David Evers, the institute's executive director, says restoring an animal population starts out small but he is optimistic.

Loons once lived throughout Massachusetts. Hunting and habitat loss contributed to their decline and they were wiped out by 1898. They began returning in the 1970s but the state still only has 45 breeding pairs.

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