Monday, December 13, 2010

Wesley the Owl by Stacey O'Brien

The subtitle - The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl - is totally apt. Biologist O'Brien took in a baby barn owl with a nerve-damaged wing, knowing she would need to care for it for the rest of its life. Wesley was four days old when she adopted him in 1985. He was nearly 20 when he died. Their life together is an amazing story.

"Wesley left a mark on almost every item I owned, and I sacrificed more and more of my property to Wesley's whims - clothes, books, papers, blankets, and furniture. I just didn't care about those things and felt like the luckiest person in the world to have him in my life." Only a special kind of person would prepare meals of mice for two decades and live with frequent injuries to her skin from sharp talons... O'Brien clearly loved Wesley very much. She describes his antics and personality so well that I feel like I knew him.

I listened to the Tantor audiobook (7 hours) read by Renee Raudman. It's entertaining and informative. I know all kinds of neat things about Tyto alba now, the only barn owl species that is found in North America. Soren, the main protagonist in the Guardians of Ga'hoole, is also a barn owl, but I confess that I haven't read that series (nor seen the movie). They certainly are a very attractive bird. The audiobook contains two dozen photos in bonus material, which is cool. You can check out some pictures on O'Brien's website.

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