Owl- and woodpecker-themed exhibit now on display at Fellows Riverside Gardens

By Jordyn Grzelewski



Large yellow eyes peer out of a round opening.

Brown, speckled feathers blend in subtly with the tree in which the northern pygmy owl is burrowed. The gaping cavity, likely made by a woodpecker, is pictured along with its owl inhabitant in a shot by photographer Paul Bannick.

Both birds are the subject of an exhibit of Bannick’s work that now is on display at Fellows Riverside Gardens’ D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center in the Andrew and Carol Weller Gallery.

“The Owl & and the Woodpecker” exhibit is based on Bannick’s book of the same title. The display features about two dozen of his photographs. The shots are stark, up-close portraits of the birds in their natural environments.

“It’s just amazing what he has captured,” said Lily Martuccio, Mill Creek MetroParks graphics and development specialist. “I think it’s just amazing when somebody captures an image, and it’s a candid shot. It’s not posed in a zoo or anything. It’s out in nature.”

The Gardens are a stop along the way for the traveling exhibit from the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. It will be on display in the visitor center through May 21. Along with the photographs, it features educational text about the birds and their habitats.

Bannick himself will visit the Gardens as a guest lecturer April 9. He will host a free wildlife photography workshop and deliver a talk titled “Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls.”

In coordination with the exhibit, the MetroParks will host other owl- and woodpecker-themed programs this month. For example, a “Wonderful Woodpeckers” event is scheduled for March 26 at Ford Nature Center.

For event details, visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

Martuccio encouraged members of the public to check out the exhibit, especially because park visitors can find some of the bird species right here in the Valley.

“The owls and the woodpeckers, you can see them in Mill Creek Park,” she said.

Plus, she said, “It’s just absolutely stunning. These are images that, up close, you don’t normally get to see.”

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