Birds and Beauty of New Zealand: tomorrow night, 7 p.m., Ukiah Civic Center
- I�m getting this out late. Please help publicize this event by passing
the article on to your friends. Thanks. Kate
The Birds and Beauty of New Zealand:
Slideshow and Talk by Ken Burton of McKinleyville
People go to New Zealand for snow-capped peaks, boiling lakes, and
mysterious rain forests. They go for beaches, fjords, and waterfalls,
geysers, glaciers, and gorges. They explore underwater canyons, smoking
volcanoes, and emerald islands. They hike, bike, ski, snorkel, surf,
spelunk, raft rivers, watch whales, bungee jump, and zorb (roll down a
steep slope inside a big foam sphere).
Ken Burton went for the birds. For three weeks last winter, this
biologist-photographer-world traveler birded seven of New Zealand�s
hundreds of islands. He will give a slide presentation of this trip on
Thursday, January 18, at 7 p.m. at the Ukiah Civic Center (directions
below). The public is invited to this event, which is sponsored by
Peregrine Audubon Society.
If you haven�t ever looked at birds through a pair of good binoculars
you may not understand how birding could compete with, say, zorbing.
But it does, for millions around the world, partly because it doesn�t
make you dizzy and nauseous. Your feet are planted on the ground and
your eyes are focused on beauty. Bird watching is often described as
the fastest growing hobby in the United States, and the cause of more
tourist dollars spent than any other recreational activity. And as
anyone who participated in this year�s Christmas Bird Count can tell
you, it�s quite a thrill to look at a tree through binoculars and find
it covered with glowing yellow �ornaments� � in this case birds known
as lesser goldfinches. Bird watching is like treasure hunting, and many
people get hooked on this wholesome pastime, gaining a greater
appreciation for the natural world in the process.
Ken Burton had to work hard for some of the treasures he found on his
trip. While New Zealand is the best place in the world to see seabirds
� and Ken saw lots (petrels, gannets, and penguins, among others) � the
land birds are another story, for reasons that Ken will explain. He
traveled extensively through the two main islands, North and South, as
well as Stewart and four other islands, searching for some of the
rarest birds on earth. One of his goals was to see or hear all five of
the world�s species of kiwis, flightless birds that behave and look
more like mammals than birds (he�ll reveal at the talk whether or not
he was successful). He also hoped to see takahes (birds that were once
thought to be extinct), wekas, yellowheads, and black stilts. In the
course of his talk Ken will tell us the story of New Zealand�s native
land birds since the arrival of Europeans. His presentation also will
include slides of plants, butterflies, seals, flowers, and scenery,
including geothermal areas.
Ken moved to Humboldt County from Marin last year and manages the
wildlife program at LBJ Enterprises in Eureka. He is a wildlife
biologist �by passion and profession,� and has traveled on every
continent pursuing his passion.
To get to Ukiah Civic Center, take Perkins St. west to North State
Street. Turn left, and then right on Seminary Avenue. Proceed to the
Civic Center parking lot. This is a free presentation although
donations are happily accepted.
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