Stacey O'Brien

Wesley the Owl

The New York Times–bestselling memoir of a biologist’s life with an unforgettable owl “will captivate animal lovers” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
On Valentine’s Day 1985, biologist Stacey O’Brien first met a four-day-old barn owl—a fateful encounter that would turn into an astonishing 19-year saga. With nerve damage in one wing, the owlet had no hope of surviving in the wild. O’Brien, a young assistant in the owl laboratory at Caltech, was immediately smitten, promising to give him a permanent home. Wesley the Owl is the funny, poignant story of their dramatic two decades together.
With a tender heart and a scientist’s eye, O’Brien describes how Wesley grew from a helpless ball of fuzz to a gorgeous adult owl with an outsized personality. She also brings us inside her research community, a kind of scientific Hogwarts where resident owls flew freely from office to office and eccentric, brilliant scientists were extraordinarily committed to studying and helping animals.
As O’Brien gets close to Wesley, she makes important discoveries about owl behavior, intelligence, and communication: he did not tolerate lies, held her to her promises, and provided unconditional love, though he was not beyond an occasional sulk. When O’Brien develops her own life-threatening illness, the biologist who saved the life of a helpless baby bird is herself rescued from death by the insistent love and courage of this wild animal.
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Atria Books, Simon & Schuster
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