PORTLAND — Maine Audubon is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its annual loon count.

Next weekend, volunteers will use binoculars at lakes and ponds in Maine to count the number of loons, as they have since 1983, with a goal of protecting loons and their habitat.

More than 900 observers will participate in gathering data for the Maine Audubon and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Susan Gallo, director of the Maine Loon Project, says the number of chicks in the southern half of the state has not changed appreciably since 1983 and that the number actually dropped in recent years. She says this year’s count will determine if it’s the start of a trend.