Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien

The author, a biologist, was given the opportunity to look after a barn owl with wing damage that had been found by hikers and could not return to live in the wild.  She named him Wesley, nursed him back to health, and they lived together for an astonishing nineteen years.  

There are some wonderful behavioral anecdotes and information about owls.  Wesley seems to have had a considerably broader emotional range than scientists had believed and, in that respect, O'Brien contributes valuable scientific info to the on-going study of owls.  There were also a wealth of Disneyesque feel-good moments where you say 'awwwwwwww'.  

While I did admire her near complete dedication to Wesley,  it gets a little icky at times.  Her infantilization of the bird made me wince more than once.  By the end, she's trying telepathy with Wesley and is convinced it might be working. 

Still, she gave the bird a far better life than he might have had and was rewarded with affection and an insiders view of the life of a remarkable bird.  

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