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Kansas hosts birding competition

PRATT, Kan. (AP) -- The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is hosting a new bird watching contest.

The department says its "Kansas Birding Big Year" contest will run from April 20 to Dec. 31. A "big year" is what bird watchers call an informal competition to see who can observe the most bird species in a geographic area in one year.

The Kansas competition will apply to birds spotted in the state.

Mike Rader, wildlife education coordinator for the department, says the point is to get people outside and enjoying nature. He says it's also a good way to learn about the different birds that pass through Kansas and make the state their home.

Participants can log their data into an online service called "eBird," available on Cornell University's website at http://www.ebird.org .