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KANSAS BIRDING BIG YEAR IS BIG SUCCESS

KANSAS BIRDING BIG YEAR IS BIG SUCCESS

Feb. 20, 2014

A Kansas bird count of 319 species sets the standard for 2014 competition

PRATT ­– The first annual Kansas Birding Big Year, which began last April, came to an end Dec. 31, 2013. Fifty-four participants signed up for the inaugural competition. First place winner in the adult division, James Malcom of Topeka, spotted and identified 319 bird species, setting quite the benchmark for future competitors. There are three age categories: youth (18 and under), adult (18-64), and senior (65 and older), with most participants entering the adult age category.

Results for each age category are as follows:

Adult DIVISION

1st place ­– James Malcom of Topeka – 319 species (overall high total)

2nd place – Jeff Calhoun of Dodge City – 314 species

3rd place – Matt Gearheart of Shawnee – 284 species

Youth DIVISION

1st place – Sam Schermerhorn of Wamego – 152 species

2nd place – Joshua Keating of Milford –98 species

3rd place – Jacob Keating of Milford – with 86 species

Senior DIVISION

1st place – Earl (Mick) McHugh of Shawnee Mission – 255 species

2nd place – Dan Larson of Berryton – 200 species

3rd place – Judith Collins of Salina –174 species

Designed to get more folks outdoors and watching birds, the Kansas Birding Big Year competition came about after Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison saw the popular movie “The Big Year,” depicting avid bird watchers trying to see as many species as they could in a single calendar year. Secretary Jennison thought it would be a fun and interesting way to get Kansans interested in bird watching, so the competition took flight and continues to gain altitude and popularity as we soar into it’s second year.

Prizes were provided courtesy of sponsors, including Cabela’s, Bonner Springs, Bass Pro Shops, Olathe,Walmart, Pratt, Bushnell Optics, Overland Park, JanSport, Alameda, Calif., and Acorn Naturalists of Tustin, Calif. In addition to receiving prizes, winners from each age group will also receive an original matted and framed pencil drawing of a native Kansas bird species, drawn and donated by Dr. Robert Penner of Ellinwood. Penner is the land steward for the Nature Conservancy at Cheyenne Bottoms and also serves as the Avian Projects Coordinator for Kansas.

Although the 2014 competition began Jan. 1, there is still plenty of time to sign up and participate; simply visit ksoutdoors.com and click “Services,” “Education,” then “Birding Big Year Competition” and start recording.

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