Washington has two pelican species, and they both tell sad stories of population declines and happy stories of population recoveries. Dennis Paulson presents an illustrated lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, located about two miles north of Freeland (Whidbey Island), 20103 State Route 252. Whidbey Audubon Society invites the public to this free program. Doors open at 7 p.m. for refreshments and socializing followed by a short meeting before the program.
Paulson’s lecture will focus on the natural history of the brown and the American white pelican, closely related but surprisingly different birds. He will add an introduction to the rest of the world’s pelican species. Paulson will not be able to definitively explain the mysterious appearance of more than 200 white pelicans on Whidbey Island and other nearby regions last summer or if they will return, but he has some speculations to share.
Paulson has been making a difference in the Salish Sea all his adult life. He is the retired director of the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound and helped Whidbey Audubon Society create its bird specimen library. He began studying natural history as a boy and not only has a strong interest in all parts of nature but is a world expert on dragonflies and shorebirds. He is the author of nine books, including “Shorebirds of North America,” “Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West,” and “Alaska: The Ecotravellers’ Wildlife Guide,” as well as 90 scientific papers on birds and dragonflies. He has traveled all over the world to study and photograph nature and likes nothing better than passing on what he has learned.