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Photographer to tell about stalking “bird celebrities”

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Supporters of Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum who are interested in birds, photography or both are in for a treat.

Nature photographer David Seibel, Overland Park, will present “Confessions of a bird paparazzo,” a mixture of humor, biology, philosophy and some of his favorite bird images, at the Living Endowment Dinner Friday, Oct. 26, at the museum.

“One day it struck me that birds and celebrities have a lot in common when it comes to photography,” Seibel says. “In this presentation, I use my own bird photography to offer a humorous but thoughtful comparison between wildlife photographers and paparazzi.

“As an ornithologist and conservationist,” he continues, “I take care not to endanger the well-being of my subjects, but as a photographer I find the lure of capturing their private moments, quirky behaviors, awkward poses – and sometimes amazing beauty – almost irresistible.”

Seibel, a native of Fredonia, is a graduate of Arkansas City High School and Southwestern College in Winfield and holds a Ph.D. in ornithology from the University of Kansas. He is a professor of biology at Johnson County Community College, where he has taught since 1991.

Seibel is also a photographer, a poet, an author and a popular lecturer whose passion for birds has taken him to five countries on three continents and to most of the lower 48 states. An expert in field identification of birds by sight and sound, he has seen more than 600 species in the United States and nearly 400 in Kansas alone.

Seibel’s knowledge of birds, photography and computer technology converged in 2003 when he undertook the new art of digiscoping (super-telephoto digital photography through a telescope), which quickly propelled him into a second career in photography with professional Canon equipment. He has now captured tens of thousands of digital images of birds and has numerous publications to his credit, including the cover photo for a recent edition of the journal North American Birds.

An award-winning faculty member at Johnson County Community College, Seibel has also published several scholarly and educational works and has been selected as a coauthor and contributing photo editor for the upcoming Birds of Kansas, to be published by the University Press of Kansas. He maintains an online photo gallery at

When planning this year’s Living Endowment Dinner, museum staff wanted the program to go along with the special exhibit currently in place, “Meet the Beak,” which features birds from the Charles Kauffman collection. “We learned about David Seibel because his program was a real hit at the 2006 Kansas Ornithological Society meeting,” says Kauffman Museum director Rachel Pannabecker.

The Living Endowment dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. with a meal catered by Aladdin and will be followed by “Confessions of a bird paparazzo.” Reservations and pre-payment of $125 per person are required for this premier fund-raising event (a portion of which will be a tax-deductible contribution to Kauffman Museum). To make a reservation by credit card or for more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612.

Kauffman Museum is located on the Bethel College campus at Main and 27th Streets in North Newton. The museum’s regular hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children ages 6-16.

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