Naturalist hopes to raise awareness at CRI class

By John Nadeau | Feb 25, 2010
Quite simply, this will be some of the most striking photography of birds and their habitats you have ever seen.

“I strive to capture a sense of intimacy with my subjects without disturbing them or changing their behavior,” says naturalist-photographer Paul Bannick.
“In my travels I photographed at the very first and very last light of day, when the light was best and the birds were most active,” he explains.
His goal with the photos and text in his book, “The Owl and the Woodpecker – Encounters with North America’s Most Iconic Birds,” is to increase awareness of these birds and their environments, which in many cases are at risk.
Published in 2008, the book continues to be a best seller in the nature category.
Bannick will take his message to the Creative Retirement Institute (CRI) at Edmonds Community College when he speaks at a March 18 luncheon meeting on the college campus.
The event is open to the general public.
After earning his degree from the University of Washington, Bannick made his mark in the computer software industry. After 15 years he left it to combine his passion for conservation with a career.
Currently, he is the Seattle director of Conservation Northwest, a non-profit agency whose objective is “to connect and protect the wild areas of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of people and wildlife.”
In the foreword to Bannick’s handsomely designed volume, Tony Angell, an artist whose work evokes Northwest nature, writes that the author hasn’t produced just exceptional photos.
Angell says Bannick shows “how the fabric of nature is so carefully and intricately composed and what we might find there if we are willing to look long and deeply enough.”
“From childhood, birds have been a big draw for me,” Bannick explains.
While studying owls and woodpeckers, he was struck by the diversity within their groups and the ways they define and enrich their habitats.
“The owl adds weight and spirit to wild places,” he says. “It requires populations of many species of plants and animals to survive.”
On the other hand, the woodpecker “infuses bright colors and boisterous sounds into the landscape.”
Bannick notes it exerts a large influence on the ecosystem.
For example, more than half the owl species in North America rely on woodpeckers for nest cavities.
Bannick’s work has appeared in countless publications, including Audubon and Sunset magazines as well as the Smithsonian Guide to North American Birds.
He’s appeared on NPR stations and served as a keynote speaker at numerous fundraisers across the country.
The title of his talk at CRI is “Owls and Woodpeckers of North America.”
Tickets must be purchased in advance.  For more information, phone CRI at 425-640-1830.

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