The Bottom Line
Wesley the Owl is a richly detailed book that offers readers an intimate look at the life and personality of a barn owl. The depth and emotion of the book gives birders and animal lovers a new appreciation for birds as unique and complex individuals and can inspire anyone to become more connected to wildlife.
- Beautifully, emotionally written and pleasurable to read
- Shows a well-balanced portrait of caring for a wild bird
- Includes detailed barn owl trivia
- Photos show Wesley’s rich character and behavior
- Lacks a basic overview of barn owl vitals: size, weight, etc.
- Occasionally loses flow with anecdotes unrelated to Wesley, owls or birds
- No resource list for wildlife rehabilitators or owl-related rescue organizations
- Title: Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl
- Author: Stacey O’Brien
- Publisher: Free Press
- Publication Date: January 2008 (hardcover) / June 2009 (paperback)
- Format: Paperback
- Page Count: 235
- ISBN: 978-1-4165-5177-5
- Price: $15
Guide Review - Book Review: Wesley the Owl
Wesley the Owl is a fantastic book that not only shares the intimate details of raising an unreleasable barn owl, but also reveals the unique personality of one special owl and the relationship he shared with his caregiver, Stacey O’Brien. The incredible details of the book, from a barn owl’s smell to owl legends to the problems owls can face in old age lead readers through the life of this barn owl and the evolution of his personality.
At the same time, O’Brien shares the less than glamorous details of caring for a wild bird to give a balanced and fair view of the commitment such a relationship requires. Killing mice, losing sleep to a nocturnal bird and bearing the scars of eager talons are just a few of the trials O’Brien endured from the time she took Wesley in on February 14, 1985 to when he died on January 8, 2005.
O’Brien discovered more than she’d ever thought possible about barn owls as she cared for Wesley. Not only did she learn that he was an intensely passionate and loyal creature, but she developed intricate communication with him vocally as well as by reading his emotions in posture and behavior. “We communicated – spirit to spirit,” she said. Through her heartfelt writing, readers can learn that communication and share a small part of the love story she shared with her owl, including how he both enriched and eventually saved her life, just as she’d saved the life of a tiny barn owl chick with a nerve-damaged wing.