NORTH NEWTON, KAN. Kauffman Museum at Bethel College will sponsor the 55th annual Halstead-Newton Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, Dec. 20. Participants will spend the day counting birds in a 15-mile area west of Newton, along with 55,000 volunteers in 2,000 counts worldwide. Local counters will meet for orientation at 6:45 a.m., Dec. 20 at Kauffman Museum, 27th and Main in North Newton. Groups will then go to their assigned areas for counting. The count ends at 5 p.m.
To participate, contact Dwight Platt at (316) 283-6708 before the count day to receive instructions and be assigned to a count group. Platt is compiler for the local bird count.
"We welcome anyone interested in an enjoyable outdoor experience looking for birds," Platt says. "Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult who will be responsible for them."
Adults are asked to pay a $7 fee to cover expenses of the count; persons 18 and under can participate free. Each participant will need to bring a sack lunch.
Last year local counters were among volunteers from all the U.S. states and Canadian provinces, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies and Pacific islands who took part in the 103rd annual Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Aububon Society and Bird Studies Canada.
"Last year in Harvey County, 27,602 birds of 74 species were counted. In the 54 previous Harvey County counts, we have seen 122 species of birds," Platt says. "One species was added to that list last year, a Bufflehead (duck) on the Hesston golf course pond."
An article analyzing the data from the first 50 years of the Halstead-Newton Christmas Bird Count was written by Platt and published in the June 2003 Kansas Ornithological Society Bulletin. The article summarized similarities and differences in the counts over five decades. Data from all counts 1900 to the present are available at http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc.