Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wesley the Owl

I still appear to be on my adult book binge, and just finished Wesley the Owl by Stacy O'Brien this afternoon. My husband read it a few weeks ago, and as a bird lover I had no doubt he would enjoy it. He wasn't quite sure how much I would like it, but in addition to learning a lot about owls (I could have fit what I had known previously into two short sentences at the most) I also enjoyed the story of Wesley and his relationship with his owner, Stacy.

Stacy adopted Wesley when he was just a few days old after having been offered this opportunity through her work. As a biologist at a Caltech lab Stacy spent her days conducting experiments and was comfortable with this arrangement. It also provided an opportunity to collect a great deal of data about the barn owl. For the next nineteen years Stacy and Wesley were best friends and she planned her life according to his needs. While she received many benefits from this relationship, there is no way I would volunteer for such a job. First of all, Wesley ate 3-4 mice each day. Stacy had to purchase them live, and then kill them. If Wesley was not hungry and happened to throw the mice off the perch where he ate and Stacy didn't happen to notice this she would have shoes or bare feet covered in mouse guts. Wesley also felt it was his role as her mate that he deliver mice for her to eat. One time Stacy awoke to a mouse being dropped in her mouth. Stacy is right when she states that biologists are unique in their ability to find such things exciting where the rest of the public is repulsed by them.

There are many more owl anecdotes included in this book and the love O'Brien shows Wesley is easy to see. This book could be easily compared to Marley and Me or Dewey the Library Cat, and enjoyable to a wide audience. While I loved the book, I won't be purchasing an owl any time soon.

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