Paul Bannick

First of all, let’s consider the title of this ornithology/photo album: The Owl and the Woodpecker (Mountaineers Books, $24.95). What do the two have in common? Woodpeckers create burrows in trees that some owls later inhabit—it’s arboreal gentrification! They’re flipping trees to the highest bidder! And owls are like yuppies who swallow mice whole, then cough up little pellets of bone and gristle—just like shopping at Whole Foods. Local photographer Paul Bannick, a refugee from the tech sector, decided to document all 41 species of the two birds, and the results of his three years at the tripod are colorful and impressive. Who doesn’t get a thrill when a snowy owl comes down from the Arctic to roost in a local fir? And who wouldn’t like a better look at our common, fidgety red-shafted northern flicker? Then there’s the beleaguered northern spotted owl—its name once synonymous with controversy—that still “faces extinction if current trends continue.” Extra bonus: There’s a companion CD of birdcalls you can use to frighten small children. And a final fun owl fact: The great horned owl, despite its superb eyesight and hearing, has so little sense of smell that it’ll happily kill and eat skunks. BRIAN MILLER

Mon., Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m., 2008

 
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