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January 03, 2011

The Owl and the Woodpecker

Work of Seattle Photographer Paul Bannick Featured in New Burke Exhibit

Kuk-kuk kuk-kuk, cooo cooo, who-hoo-ho-ooo: these are the sounds of North America's two most iconic birds – the owl and the woodpecker. In environments both urban and wild, woodpecker drumming echoes throughout the day, while the haunting call of the owl fills the night.

A new exhibit at Seattle's Burke Museum, The Owl and the Woodpecker, introduces museum visitors to the most important species of owls and woodpeckers in North America, using spectacular photos, informative text, and evocative audio recordings to illustrate how these birds define and enrich the specific habitats on which they depend, and to highlight the critical importance of conserving those habitats. The Owl and the Woodpecker is on view at the Burke Museum from March 19 – August 17, 2011 and will then tour to other museums around the state and nationwide.

The Owl and the Woodpecker is based on a book of the same title by Seattle naturalist and photographer Paul Bannick. Bannick is known for his intimate wildlife photography, which supports environmental conservation efforts. His work has appeared in Audubon magazine, the National Wildlife Federation Guide to North American Birds, Smithsonian Guide to North American Birds, and in many other books, magazines, parks, refuges, and other places in North America and Europe.

Of the book and exhibit, Bannick says, "As I traveled North America photographing wildlife, I was struck by how often every new landscape was announced with the call of a new owl or woodpecker and by how often the lives of these two birds were intertwined with each other and with the most sensitive elements of their natural environment. The story of these 22 woodpecker and 19 owl species was waiting to be told."

The Owl and the Woodpecker exhibit will include:

  • Twenty-five large-format, framed color prints by Bannick
  • Text descriptions of each bird, written by the photographer, plus several thematic text panels that highlight the conservation issues affecting different owl and woodpecker habitats across North America
  • Audio recordings of the calls and drumming sounds of the birds featured in the photographs
  • Birds specimens from the Burke ornithology collection
  • A specimen-rich, interactive study space for K-12 students and other visitors

Paul Bannick's book, The Owl and the Woodpecker, will be available for sale in the Burke Shop.

The Owl and the Woodpecker was developed by the Burke Museum, created in partnership with Paul Bannick and Braided River, a partner of The Mountaineers Books. Major support comes from Microsoft, with additional support from Tom and Sonya Campion; Donors to the Burke Museum Annual Fund; Barbara Eddy, Educational Legacy Fund; Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation; Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation; The Mountaineers Foundation, Carl Skoog Memorial Fund; Norcliffe Foundation; and the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.

(206) 543-9762; FAX (206) 616-1274

A yellow-shafted Northern Flicker is startled to find his mate poking her head from their cavity just as he arrives.