The owl’s year and Christmas cheer

<em>The sparrow-sized Northern Pygmy Owl, an aggressive hunter with large feet and big eyes, has false eye spots at the back of its head that confuse predators.	 </em>Photo by Paul Bannick

The sparrow-sized Northern Pygmy Owl, an aggressive hunter with large feet and big eyes, has false eye spots at the back of its head that confuse predators. Photo by Paul Bannick

With their haunting calls, yellow, unblinking eyes, and the startling whoosh they make as they glide invisibly in the dead of night, it’s no wonder owls have been feared and revered for ages, surrounded by superstition and myth. Are they wise? That’s not something owl expert Paul Bannick, our November Tuesday Talk speaker, is apt to know. Are they smart? Not nearly as clever as crows, they say, but much more loved and intriguing.

Harbinger of trouble?

A naturalist, wildlife photographer, and the author of two best-selling bird books, Bannick has traveled extensively for more than 10 years, waiting patiently in rough conditions in remote regions hoping for the perfect shot and recording the behavior of all 19 North American owl species. The result is an astounding collection of rare and intimate photographs and an in-depth knowledge of the daily lives and habitat of these beautiful creatures, many of which live right here in our state.

You’ll learn how owls advertise for mates—from simple toots to impressive wing clapping and sky dances. Why do most nest in woodpecker-made cavities? How do they survive our winters? Is an owl haunting your deck a harbinger of bad things to come, or is it telling you that its usual habitat is no longer providing enough food?

An avid conservationist, Bannick is always eager to share his knowledge. His philosophy is, “We only protect what we love, and we only love what we know.” His new program features video, sound, and stories from the field and many extraordinary images.

Paul Bannick: A Year in the Life of Owls, Nov. 12, 7 p.m. at the Greater Hansville Community Center, Buck Lake Rd. Bannick will bring signed copies of his books, which would make terrific gifts.

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

Susan Gray creates multi-dimensional greeting cards and colorful alcohol ink painting on trivets, coasters and pendants. The folks from Soundview Holly Ranch in Snohomish will be bringing their gorgeous wreaths and centerpieces. These are just two of the over twenty-five merchants who will be selling their handmade wares at the annual Holiday in Hansville Arts & Crafts Show to benefit the nonprofit Hansville Helping Hands.

You’ll find sea glass and shell jewelry, hand-carved wooden boxes and trays, baby clothes, metal art, soy candles, lapidary pendants, tree ornaments, pet blankets, as well as “an emporium of metaphysical art and gifts.”

There will also be raffle baskets of items donated by the participating artists (everyone gets one ticket at the door), a bake sale, and a toy drive. Phillip Godinez, the president of Helping Hands, asked that you bring new toys, which will be distributed to ShareNet clients.

Godinez moved to Hansville three years ago from Edmonds and was named president of Helping Hands just this year. He said he brought his then 6-month-old daughter to his first meeting because “I wasn’t sure if it was still a female only club. Luckily the organization began welcoming men in 2015, when it changed its name from Ladies Aid.”

He often brings his two children—a 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter—with him when volunteering. “They come along when I drive neighbors to medical appointments or to the food bank. And my daughter will be helping me serve pie at Martha & Mary’s pie social this month,” he said.

Holiday in Hansville Arts & Crafts Show, Friday, Nov. 8, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at GHCC.

Annette Wright was an editor and writer for women’s magazines in NYC for 25 years. You can contact her at wrightannette511@gmail.com.

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