Take Me To The Woods

Review of The Owl and The Woodpecker @ The Burke Museum by Samantha V.

A female Snowy Owl's brood patch is visible as she returns to the nest.
Photo by Paul Bannick

Have you ever seen an owl on the hunt, or heard a woodpecker as it hammers away on a tree? The Burke's newest exhibit, The Owl and The Woodpecker, gives you a chance to experience these things for yourself. This exhibit is made up mostly of beautiful nature photos of our native owls and woodpeckers taken by Paul Bannick, and with the sound of these birds in your ears and what feels like all their eyes following you, this exhibit sheds light on some creatures we don't often see.

I have to say that as far as nature photography goes, Bannick is really good. He can capture a moment in an animal's life in a way that engages and makes sense to us without humanizing them too much. For instance: a Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker gets really startled when his mate pops her head out of their nest cavity, a Snowy Owl stares solemnly at you as the sun sets on its tundra home, and an Acorn Woodpecker looks out on the world surrounded by it granary full of acorns. These photos are not only wonderful to look at, but also are very inspiring in that they offer us a look at some of the many creatures that make our environment unique and what we can do to keep it that way.

A Hairy Woodpecker excavates a cavity in a quaking aspen tree.
Photo by Paul Bannick

There was one thing that wasn't a photo that truly caught my eye: a case full of wings. The wing of a Great Horned Owl is at least a foot and half long. It really put into perspective how large and how small these birds are. But no matter how big or small, there will always be things that make them special. From a woodpecker's hard head and dramatic colors to an owl's silent wings and big eyes. It is amazing how these birds survive and with enough help, it is likely that the woods of Washington State will never be without them.

The Owl and the Woodpecker
The Burke Museum
Through August 7, 2011

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