Watersheds Blog

Local Citizen Scientist Still at it at 97
Dr. Leonard Bachman has been participating in the Maine Audubon Annual Loon Count for over 20 years, held annually on the third Saturday of July. Even at 97 years old, he loves participating; it has become a family tradition.

Bachman has been coming to Rangeley each year from Maryland, and the Common Loon has always been very compelling to him. Seeing loons and hearing their calls is an iconic part of traveling up to camp. He has been interested in conservation since he was a boy scout and thinks “every citizen should be interested in conservation and the outdoors.” As a doctor, he enjoys science, research, studying, and learning, which led to him becoming interested in the Loon Count.


Whenever he hears a loon, he will stop and look for it. Whenever he has guests over, he tries to point out any loons for them; he loves to share his joy for Rangeley wildlife with others.


He shared a story about boating with his late wife when an Osprey came down and grabbed a fish right next to her paddle! In recent years he has seen fewer Osprey but has noticed an increase in Bald Eagles.


Over the years, he has noticed that sometimes he sees larger groups during the Loon Count, sometimes as many as 10-12 loons in a group, while other years, he notes more individuals. Some years produce more chicks than others, and there were more nests in the past. Maine’s Loon population has been on the rise, but it was fascinating to hear how his data fluctuated yearly.


When he first started participating in the Loon count, he would go out by himself, but now his daughter and son-in-law have found passion in participating each year with him. He hopes his grandchildren can join them next year; the annual Loon count is not a chore for the family but rather a way for them to all go out on the boat together.


We thank Dr. Bachman for participating in the Loon count each year and helping Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust and Maine Audubon. We are hoping that he can continue to participate for many years to come.

Len at his camp on Cupsuptic Lake.

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