Overland Park Resident Identifies 311 Species in Birding Contest

Overland Park Resident Identifies 311 Species in Birding Contest

PRATT ­– As part of the fourth annual Kansas Birding Big Year contest that ended on Dec. 31, 2016, Kansans searched high and low to check bird species off their identification lists in hopes their year-end total would bring them a “win.” For one lucky Overland Park resident, Malcom Gold, that win came when he topped off his count at 311 unique bird species identified in Kansas before year’s end.

The competition is divided into three age categories: youth (age 18 or younger), adult (age 18-64), and senior (age 65 or older). The adult classification is further organized into three skill levels: novice, intermediate and advanced. Birds are counted from January 1 to December 31 of each year and entered through the website, www.ebird.org, a reporting program housed at Cornell University.

2016 Birding Big Year winners are as follows:

Adult, Advanced

1st– Will Chatfield-Taylor, Lawrence, 306

2nd– Glen Caspers, Topeka, 302

3rd– Matt Gearheart, Shawnee, 296

Adult, Intermediate

1st– Malcom Gold, Overland Park, 311 (overall high total)

2nd– Mickey Louis, Overland Park, 293

3rd– Jennifer Hammett, Shawnee, 292

Adult, Novice

1st– Kelli Egbert, Spring Hill, 252

2nd– Todd Becker, Marion, 213

3rd– Jess Painter, Abilene, 142


1st– Joseph Miller, Nickerson, 260

2nd– Sam Schermerhorn, Wamego, 227

3rd– Ella Burnett, Erie, 150


1st– Tom Cannon, Iola, 304

2nd– Earl (Mick) McHugh, Mission Hills, 278

3rd– Doris Burnett, Manhattan, 265

“Anything over 300 species in Kansas is considered a benchmark for a very good year,” said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) wildlife education coordinator, Mike Rader. “Four of the participants surpassing that total is really outstanding.”

Apart from bragging rights, winners will also receive prizes donated from several sponsors, including the KDWPT Education Section; Cabela’s of Wichita; Bass Pro Shops of Olathe; and Acorn Naturalists of Tustin, CA, a supplier of resources for the trail and classroom. The winners of each of the three age classifications (and skill levels in the adult classification) will also receive matted and framed original ink drawings of native Kansas shorebird species, drawn and donated by Dr. Robert Penner. Dr. Penner is the land steward and avian projects coordinator for The Nature Conservancy at Cheyenne Bottoms.

To participate in the 2017 contest, follow the instructions at ksoutdoors.com/Services/Wildlife-Diversity/2017-Kansas-Birding-Big-Year and get counting!