Spectacular bird photos featured at Syosset Library gallery

January Artist of the Month Kris Long is a professional graphic artist, photographer, and relatively new birdwatcher (also known as “birder”). His passion for photography led him to birdwatching during the COVID lockdown, when, he says, “there was little else do to with my kids outdoors but go for walks in nature preserves and parks around Long Island.”

The photographs on display were taken entirely on the Island, many near Mr. Long’s home on the south shore. Subjects include the Northern Harrier, Black-capped Chickadee, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Hooded Merganser, Snowy Owl, Piping Plover, Belted Kingfisher, American Goldfinch, Black Skimmer, Eastern Bluebird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Ovenbird, American Oystercatcher, Peregrine Falcon, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Prothonotary Warbler, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Long’s delight in discovering each species is evident. “The photographs feature many birds I had never known existed, especially right near home, and made me want to learn more about them.”

Mr. Long is currently a graphic artist at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; prior to that he was a staff photographer and graphic artist at The Colbert Report. His bird photographs will be on display in the SPL Gallery on the lower level through January.

“The exhibit compliments this year’s Long Island Reads selection, Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World by Christian Cooper,” says Pam Strudler, Librarian and Gallery Exhibit Coordinator. Mr. Cooper grew up on the south shore. Unlike Mr. Long, he discovered birding early in life. His book is a heartfelt tale—part memoir, part travelogue—of his joy in birding, journey through life as a gay black man and self-described “nerd,” and writer and editor at Marvel comics. It also offers perspective on the infamous encounter between Mr. Cooper and a dogwalker with an unleashed pup while Mr. Cooper was birding in a sensitive area in Central Park where leashing is required and important to protect avian habitat.

Mr. Cooper will speak and be honored at the Long Island Reads event at Plainview-Old Bethpage Library on Sunday, April 21, at 2 p.m. The event is free; tickets are required. For more information, visit longislandreads.wordpress.com. There will be a separate SPL Long Island Reads book discussion led by Jackie Ranaldo, Head of Readers’ Services, on Tuesday, March 26, at 2 p.m. The program is free; registration is not required. Copies of Better Living Through Birding will be available at the Circulation Desk one month before the program.

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