Young birders can test skills at Jan. 5 Kids' Bird Count event

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JOPLIN, Mo. – Learning how to identify the variety of birds that are found in our area is a great way to get kids interested in the outdoors.

Young nature enthusiasts can hone their bird identification skills Jan. 5 at the “Kids’ Christmas Bird Count” event at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Walter Woods Conservation Area in Newton County. This free program, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is for ages 7-17 and is a joint effort of the Ozarks Gateway Audubon Society and MDC.

Participants will begin the day by learning birding basics in the classroom facility at the Walter Woods Area. Then, under the mentorship of MDC staff and veteran birders from Audubon, young birding enthusiasts will head out onto the 68-acre public use area to test their skills. Participants should bring binoculars if they have them and dress for the weather. MDC staff and Audubon members will have extra binoculars to share and parents are encouraged to accompany their children on their birding adventures.

People can register for this event at They can get more information about this and other programs by calling MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center at 417-629-3434. To get to Walter Woods Conservation Area, take Newton County Highway NN south from Redings Mill 1.25 miles, then turn west on Dutch Elm Drive and this will lead you to the area.