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Penguins in the Desert

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Eastside Audubon Society announces its May program, “Penguins in the Desert,” with Seattle based environmental writer, Eric Wagner. The program will be held May 24, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at the Northlake Unitarian Church located at 308 Fourth Ave S in Kirkland.

Every year along a windswept edge of coastal Patagonia, an unlikely desert location, hundreds of thousands of Magellanic penguins gather to rear their young at Punta Tombo, Argentina. It is one of the largest penguin colonies in the world outside of Antarctica, and for the past three decades, University of Washington biologist Dee Boersma has followed them there. Eric Wagner joined her team for six months, and he will talk about his book based on these experiences, Penguins in the Desert.

In his new book, he chronicles a season in the remarkable lives of both the Magellanic penguins of Punta Tombo and the scientists who track their every move. For Boersma, the penguins are ecosystem sentinels. At the colony’s peak, more than a million birds bred there, but now less than half as many do. In confronting this fact, Boersma tackles some of the most urgent issues facing penguins and people today. What is the best way to manage our growing appetite for fish? How do we stop catastrophic oil spills from coating birds? How will we address the looming effects of climate change?

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