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Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl
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Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  7,505 Ratings  ·  1,374 Reviews
Written with the same heartwarming sentiment that made the memoir Marley & Me a runaway bestseller, biologist and owl expert Stacey O'Brien chronicles her rescue of an adorable, abandoned baby barn owl---and their astonishing and unprecedented nineteen-year life together.
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Published September 1st 2009 by Findaway World (first published August 19th 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Chrissie
I don't know if this should have 4 or 5 stars. Amazing literature - no. Amazing subject matter - yes. I do believe the author's message is correct. Anybody who believes that animals and people really can communicate with each other, can experience a very strong loving relationship with each other, should read this book. Communication and understanding does not have to occur through "talk". If you live with an animal for many years you come to understand just by looking at each other what the oth ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I LOVED this book! The author has a great sense of humor, and shares a lot of her knowledge about owls, which I found fascinating. The first few chapters are especially funny. I had to put the book down a few times just to laugh til my face hurt. You can't leave an owlet with a "babysitter," because he will screech and squawk the whole time at an ear-piercing level. So she took him with her on a first date with a guy she'd been really hot for.

Wesley was a barn owl who had nerve damage in one of
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Margitte
Jan 18, 2015 Margitte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, reviewed
Wesley was a man. An Owl man. A hunter. A protector. A fierce protector of his missus! He demanded his story to be told. The book blurb says it all. I won't try to improve on it.



What I can add is that Wesley kept me enchanted and mesmerized. He had character and a sense of humor. He was wise, loyal and highly intelligent.

I have read this book several years ago. It was a surprising gift from an American friend and I never knew it was going to be such a great delight in my life. The book is so pre
...more
Lisa Vegan
Oct 06, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like owls, biology, nature, science, biographies, heartwarming & funny stories
When several of my Goodreads’ friends claimed that everyone would love this book, I assumed that statement was hyperbole, even though I was interested in reading it, but now I see why they said that. I’m sure there are many readers who, in fact, would not like this book, but I think most people will appreciate and be smitten by it. I’m surprised that there aren’t more 5 star ratings at Goodreads; only 33% gave it 5 stars and only another 37% gave it 4 stars. I loved it and it definitely deserves ...more
Caroline
***NO SPOILERS***

For nineteen years, Stacey O’Brien cared for an unlikely pet: a barn owl whose injured wing meant he never would be able to thrive in the wild. This is a heartwarming, amusing, and most of all, fascinating account of one biologist’s experience studying a wild owl in the closest way possible--by sharing her own home (and oftentimes pillow) with it over the course of its entire lifespan. The experience affected her profoundly.

Even for readers not especially interested in owls or
...more
Ron
Wesley the Owl

Stacey O’Brien wrote this memoir soon after sharing 19 years of her life with Wesley. She named him. She raised him from a tiny owlet. He was hers, but it could be best said, like the subtitle, that she was his. There’s no denying that substantial bonds can exist between a human and an animal. Bonding to dogs and cats, those are the obvious. I would not have thought it to be true for a wild owl. O’Brien proved that it is more than possible. In truth, their relationship should not
...more
Bonnie
Wesley the Owl: the story of biologist Stacey O'Brien and her adoption of a 4 day old baby barn owl. The book is a retelling of the 19 years spent caring and loving for this animal and of the love and bond the two of them shared.

My favorite line from this book:

'Live your life not by staying in the shallow, safer waters, but by wading as deep into the river of life as possible, no matter how dangerous the current. We have only one chance at this life.'

I have this abnormally large soft spot in my
...more
JC
Oct 01, 2008 JC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book one night intending to read just the first chapter before bed. I had to force myself to put it down at chapter six lest I miss out on a good night's sleep!

I've never been a bird person, but O'Brien's heartwarming account of her life with Wesley the Owl may make me a convert...for owls at least. O'Brien mixes scientific fact with personal anecdote in a way that is clear and compelling. By the end, you feel like you've learned something about owls, but most of all, you'll have
...more
Ginny Messina
Oct 09, 2008 Ginny Messina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
I loved reading about Stacey O’Brien’s experience in raising a barn owl. And, I learned a great deal about owls and about the challenges of living with an animal whose wild instincts can never be completely tamed.

The writing is not great, and sometimes it’s actually pretty bad, especially when the author recreates dialog. In some cases conversations are so awkwardly placed in an obvious attempt to make a particular point, that they sound like a very low-budget public service announcement. And t
...more
Doug Bradshaw
Jan 05, 2014 Doug Bradshaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's easy to think of animals as simple creatures with various survival instincts built into their systems, certainly not capable of much more than eating, mating and surviving in their various habitats. But raise a baby owl and live full time with it and become its virtual mate, and it becomes apparent that there's way more going on in their brains and lives than imaginable. In fact, this owl Wesley communicates with the wonderful Stacey in almost every imaginable way including love, warmth, pr ...more
Lance Greenfield
Feb 21, 2010 Lance Greenfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comfort-reads
Enchanting

There are already hundreds of reviews of this book on Goodreads, so I shan’t repeat the storyline for you. However, for those of you who have any feeling for the amazing stories of relationships between animals and humans, this is a “must read.”

Stacey and Wesley live their lives together from the time that the owl is four days old. They form such a very strong relationship that they converse with each other, and share each other’s emotions, happy and sad. The story is beautifully narra
...more
Caroline
May 24, 2012 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bedtime-reading
Okay, one thing I’ve learnt from this book is that if you want to adopt an owl it’s best to be a biologist, and experienced with working with birds, and be prepared to go to any lengths to keep it happy. Stacey was all of these things.

Wesley developed from being a fluffy ball of cuteness into being a fully mature adult male owl. He saw Stacey as his mate (in every sense of the word), and he really didn’t like other people very much at all. He was utterly endearing with Stacey though, giving her
...more
Diane
Dec 21, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal lovers
Recommended to Diane by: Lisa Vegan
A big thank you to one of my reading buddies, Lisa V, and others on Comfort Reads for suggesting I read this book. It was so wonderful that I need a few days before I can start another book.

Wesley is a 4 day old baby barn owl suffering nerve damage to one of his wings, hence he is unable to survive in his natural surroundings in the wild. Fortunately for Wesley he 'lands' at Caltech after being found on the ground by hikers. From Caltech, he is taken home by one of the biologists, Stacey O'Brie
...more
Mark
Dec 06, 2008 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donnaleigh
Oct 11, 2013 Donnaleigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, wow, wow. This is one of those books which, after you have completed it, you need a bit of recovery time to come back to the real world. This is so well written, and such a touching memoir. The author's dedication to this little guy for 19 years is outstanding. The synchronicities that happen in the author's life, those odd coincidences that seem to pop up with great meaning, are equally amazing and speak to the author's spiritual nature (this is not a religious book by any means, but the a ...more
Julie
Sep 28, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just read this book in a few hours...I have been sick in bed all day with nothing else to do, and it was impossible to put down.
Not only is it just a cute story of an owl and his girl, but a learning experience because she is a biologist, and adopted Wesley to get to observe barn owl behavior first hand.
I just love when a book teaches me things, especially about animals. And I think one of her main points was to show that animals of all sorts have emotions that are sometimes even more sensitiv
...more
Tamora Pierce
This is the story of a girl and her owl. How could I resist? Stacy O'Brien was working in the Caltech biolabs when she was offered the chance to rear and report on a baby barn owl who had nerve damage in one wing and was not likely to survive in the wild. She hadn't done owls before, but she was more than willing to try, and took in the three-day-old owlet she named Wesley. She was in her early twenties.

The book is not only a series of funny anecdotes about life with an intelligent and proprieta
...more
carlie
Sep 05, 2008 carlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature-pets
I picked this book up because of the adorable picture on the cover. The title didn't give me much hope that it would be good, but I was pleasently supprised.
The star of the book is Wesley, a smart barn owl who's antics were a joy to read. From the first moment the author sees the helpless baby she fell in love , and in reading along, so did I.
I found myself continually stoping to share both odd scientific facts I was learning, as well as beautiful pictures of Wesley scattered throughout the b
...more
Tasha
3.5 Owls are beautiful creatures so it was fascinating to read about one that lived with a human. We get an inside look and it is quite a sweet story.
Virginie
Mar 27, 2010 Virginie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Ohhhhh, I love owls so much !!!!! Especially barn owls !!!!I want to buy this.....
Jessie (saxgrl1)
I was a little hesitant to read this book. I work at a wildlife rehabilitation center and I've seen some awful things that people have done wild animals that they tried to take care of. I've also worried that this book might give people the go-ahead to try and raise owls themselves. While the author does mention Author's Note that it is illegal to take care of any bird (or wild animal), that point seems to be lost in the rest of the book. On the other hand, I think some people may see the intens ...more
Lee
I started reading this on the recommendation of several animal loving friends. I must admit to feeling some trepidation after reading a blurb about the thousands of mice the author had to kill in order to feed Wesley over an almost 20 year period. However, I was definitely interested in knowing more about these beautiful and mysterious, nocturnal creatures.

The author writes with an engaging and very readable style. Her anecdotes of daily life with a newly adopted 4 day old, orphaned and nerve da
...more
Lynn Wilson
Jul 13, 2009 Lynn Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers, biologists and naturalists
What a wonderful surprise this book was. I picked it up because I saw the cover in the bookstore window (thank you Elliott Bay) and it turned out to be one of those "could not put it down" books. As the title states it really is a love story, a remarkable one, between the author and a barn owl that she rescued and raised. This is not a feat to be undertaken lightly. O'Brien is a biologist and was working in an owl research facility at the time. Her nineteen year life with Wesley is a heart-warmi ...more
Neel
Nov 21, 2009 Neel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting story of love, caring, intimacy, deep bond, attachement etc. and astrange and weird events that happened between the author and an owl. Though it's very strange how she became so brave to kill thousands of mice in such a brutal way to feed a single soul out of love, specilally who was regretted days seeing her mom flushed a spider in toilet bowl. But I really enjoyed reading it.Thanks, Renee.
Kelly
A very cute story. I learned a lot about owls I never knew before, and the pictures were great.
Downsides? This woman is a nutjob, and she had a serious case of needing a real editor (not just her musician friend). The word "galumphing" was used about eighteen thousand times, and sometimes the digressions she made were unnecessary. Alas, for good mindless reading, this one is a quick and unique true story.
Marissa
Nov 23, 2008 Marissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
oh my dear god, this book is adorable. just adorable.
Jenny
This was fascinating. Stacey O'Brien is a biologist who worked at Caltech and adopted a baby barn owl when he was four days old. Stacey and Wesley bonded over his 20 year life and she lovingly tells their story and shares some of the insights she gained.

Owls mate for life and in fact, if their mate dies, they often turn their head, stop hunting and die as well. She explains a bit about their brains and how they have developed differently than humans but delves a bit into their intelligence as we
...more
Rebecca
Jan 02, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absoloutely amazing. That is all I can say when I think of this book.
I found it in a kindle sale and thought it sounded like a cute little book to pass the time. I did not expect it to be full of emotion, that at points made me keel over with laughter or muffle my sobs with a pillow.
The book explored the relationship and growth between the author and her lovely owl Wesley, highlighting their trust and love. I was amazed and awed by some of the things they achieved together. Between the laugh o
...more
William Xu
Apr 26, 2015 William Xu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wesley the Owl is a biography of an owl with his owner Stacey O'Brien(also written by Stacey O'Brien). Wesley is a barn owl that lived to a quiet ancient age for a barn owl. Wesley had a nerve problem in one of his wings so he could not have lived in the wild alone. When Wesley was small he didn't care who touched or patted him, but as Wesley grew older and more responsible he only allowed Stacey to touch him. If it was not Stacey, he would do the owl 'no noes' which is a warning sign before the ...more
Laura
Dec 21, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're interested in owls - or even if you're not - this is a terrific book. Solid 4.5 stars. Believe it or not, it's a real page-turner! It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, and you'll learn a ton in the process. Highly recommended non-fiction!
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“Wesley went everywhere with me from then on. I even wrapped him in baby blankets and held him in my arms while grocery shopping, to keep him warm during the first cold winter. Occasionally someone would ask to see "the baby," and when I opened the blanket, would leap back shrieking, "What is that?! A dinosaur?" Apparently, the world is full of educated adults with mortgages and stock portfolios who think people are walking around grocery stores with dinosaurs in their arms.” 12 likes
“Wesley taught me the Way of the Owl. In the human world your value as a person is often intrinsically linked to your wealth or most recent accomplishment. But all the accoutrements of the world were stripped away from me when I got sick. Welsey made me realize that if all I had to give was love, that was enough. I didn't need money, status, accomplishment, glamour or many of the empty things we so value.” 10 likes
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