O'Brien's story of her profound friendship with a barn owl is
strange, exciting, lovely and important. A much-needed corrective to our
sanitized, human-centric view of animals as instinct machines or as pets that can be
trained to perform stupid tricks, Wesley the Owl
reasserts the powerful
and sometimes icky otherworldliness and breathtaking complexity of nature.
Prepare to be enlightened, disgusted, delighted and humbled.
O'Brien is a thoroughly
animal-oriented person. Her friends keeps goats, horses and dogs and spend their time studying
owls, vultures, or rotting sea mammal carcasses. She and her fellow biologists
pride themselves on their ability to suppress disgust and on their constant and
enthusiastic interest in the minutiae of nature. Describing her time working in
the owl labs at Caltech, O'Brien notes a biologist whose body has become...
Beyond the Book
Helping Injured Birds
WildBirds.com website offers the following advice if you come across an
If you find an injured bird, make sure it is really injured before you act.
Often the bird is simply stunned. It may fly away in a few minutes if you leave
it alone. Birds often become stunned by flying into glass windows.
If the bird has a broken wing or other serious injury, contact your local
wildlife rehabilitation center. Be VERY careful around Hawks and Owls. Their
sharp claws and beaks can do a lot of damage! Do not handle them yourself. Do
not give an injured bird food or water. Keep children and pets away from the
To transport the bird . . . place the injured bird in a box...