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Birders to brave weather for annual Christmas count

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bird enthusiasts will be rising early this Saturday to participate in the 61st annual Halstead-Newton Christmas Bird Count.

The event begins at 6:45 a.m. Dec.19 at Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus in North Newton.

Participants will traverse Harvey County in small groups looking for and counting the birds they see and hear. Novice birders are encouraged to participate and will be paired with experienced birders.

The Newton area count began in 1949 when Bethel College students Dwight Platt, Roy Henry and Jim Rich joined the nationwide effort coordinated by the National Audubon Society. Each year, results are tabulated and compared to results of past years and used to assess the health of bird populations nationally and internationally and to help guide conservation action.

The cost of the Newton-Halstead count is $5.25 per person. The count will last until 5 p.m. Birders are required to participate the entire day or to find substitutes for the hours when they cannot count. Children 12 and under should be accompanied by an adult. Binoculars, warm clothing and a sack lunch (often eaten indoors) are the only required supplies.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Christmas Bird Count coordinator Lorna Harder at or 620-367-8479.

Kauffman Museum is located at Main and 27th Streets in North Newton. For directions, call or e-mail Harder or call the museum at 316-283-1612.

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