Kathy Carroll, Bonner Springs, identified 334 unique species of birds in the Sunflower State last year while participating in the fifth annual Kansas Birding Big Year contest that ended on Dec. 31, 2017. Her efforts won 1st place in the intermediate category and was the overall high among all entrants.
The Kansas Birding Big Year contest is an annual competition among birders in Kansas to see who can spot the most species in a calendar year. Winners of the 2017 contest listed below competed against 62 total entrants.

Adult Advanced
1st – Malcolm Gold, Overland Park, 332 species
2nd – Andrew Burnett, Erie, 307
3rd – Sue Newland, Wakarusa, 305
4th – Robert Penner, Ellinwood, 302
5th – Kevin Groeneweg, Wichita, 296

Adult IntermediatE
1st – Kathy Carroll, Bonner Springs, 334 (High Overall)
2nd – Mickey Louis, Overland Park, 304
3rd – Jennifer Hammett, Shawnee, 294
4th – Kelli Egbert, Spring Hill, 286
5th – Linda Zempel, Topeka, 259

Adult Novice
1st – Allison Godek, Prairie Village, 297
2nd – David Kirsch, Overland Park, 270
3rd – Michael Bader, Great Bend, 234
4th – Suntesha Wustrack, Augusta, 221
5th – Walt Cochran, Gardner, 220
1st – Andrew Miller, Partridge, 272
2nd – Will Kirsch, Overland Park, 257
3rd – Sam Schermerhorn, Wamego, 232
4th – Lynnea Nelson, Carbondale, 208
5th – Michaela Gold, Overland Park, 193
6th – Ella Burnett, Erie, 162
1st – Dan Larson, Berryton, 255
2nd – Doris Burnett, Manhattan, 223
3rd – John Row, Manhattan, 191
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.
Apart from bragging rights, winners receive prizes from the KDWPT Education Section, and Acorn Naturalists of Tustin, Calif., 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 drawings of native Kansas shorebirds, 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 sign up for the 2018 contest, visit http://ksoutdoors.com/Services/Wildlife-Diversity/2018-Kansas-Birding-Big-Year and get counting.