AP NEWS

September Audubon program focuses on bird evolution

September 15, 2017

Over the years, Washington state has hosted 515 species of birds — everything from the largest swans (with wingspans of seven feet) to the tiniest songbirds (bushtits with a wingspan of six inches). Some of our birds are so dull they have almost no color at all, though their voices can be very sweet (warbling vireos are a good example). Other birds croak like frogs but glisten like gems (wood ducks).

Where did this spectacular diversity come from? The short answer is: from dinosaurs. The long answer is: 150 million years of evolution.

The Kittitas Audubon Society will discuss this topic at their monthly program at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Hal Holmes Center at 209 N. Ruby St., in Ellensburg.

Master birder Connie Sidles will present all the latest information and theories about how birds evolved, including one of the most exciting recent finds: an ancient baby bird caught in amber.

Find out about the newest discoveries being dug out of the slate of northern China, a fossil bed so rich it will take us decades to tabulate and understand it all.

Connie has a degree in Egyptology from the University of Chicago, where she also studied paleontology. She is chair of Seattle Audubon’s Publications Committee, a two-time former board member, and soon-to-be chair of the Conservation Committee.

If you ask her, she will even take a crack at answering the age-old question that has puzzled philosophers and historians: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The presentation is free and open to the public.