Common Loons (Gavia immer) recolonized Massachusetts in 1975 from a single breeding pair on the Quabbin Reservoir. Since then, the population has grown to 33 pairs that occupy 14 lakes, but the full recovery potential of the population is unknown. This study analyzed population data and habitat suitability, as well as compared population dynamics, of the Common Loon population in Massachusetts to the Common Loon population in New Hampshire to determine if a recovery similar to the one seen in New Hampshire is possible. Results indicated that a large-scale recovery may be possible as enough suitable habitat exists to support about 300 pairs statewide. Current population stresses have not led to a decline; thus, management efforts can be increased to encourage further growth. Due to a small initial population, some aspects of a small population paradigm and an allee affect may have contributed to the slow population growth since 1975 as compared to Vermont and New Hampshire.
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Vol. 37 • No. sp1