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One Man's Owl: Abridged Edition

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  24 reviews
This engaging chronicle of how the author and the great horned owl "Bubo" came to know one another over three summers spent in the Maine woods--and of how Bubo eventually grew into an independent hunter--is now available in an edition that has been abridged and revised so as to be more accessible to the general reader.
Paperback, Abridged, 240 pages
Published January 2nd 1994 by Princeton University Press (first published 1987)
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4.18  · 
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 ·  184 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Petra X
This, like all Heinrich's books, is a really fantastic read. The owl, Bubo, is observed both as pet-companion and scientifically. Here he is living in a small wooden cabin in the woods with a very large, 2' tall, 4-5' wingspan crazy, possessive owl that he raised from fluffy owlet mostly on road kill. The owl is extremely possessive and does not see why Heinrich seeks other company and so is given to dive-bombing visitors to shorten their stay. Heinrich who is always thinking up new ways of test ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Bernd Heinrich is like a modern day Thoreau, with an added degree of difficulty to his endeavors. No, it's not enough for my man Bernd to disappear into the woods for months at a time. He likes to tame and study wild animals while Grizzly Adamsing it. In One Man's Owl, duh, he rescues and rehabilitates a great horned owl. But no! Living in a tiny primitive cabin with a crazy, overprotective owl isn't nearly enough for Bernd. He also raises and trains a pair of crows, just to see what would happe ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author, a naturalist and biology professor, spends a few months a year in his rustic cabin in Maine. Early one summer he finds an owlet, blown out of it's nest by a storm and takes the bird back to his cabin. This is our introduction to Bubo, a Great Horned Owl, that the author raises for the next 3 summers. He feeds the bird mainly road-kill and slowly tries to adapt the raptor to fend for himself.
This is a wonderful book, for bird & nature lovers and Heinrich is an excellent writer, wi
Sara Johnson
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fairly short read but not my favorite of Heinrichs work. It was written diary style and was mostly anti-climatic. Otherwise a nice naturalist read on raising an owl and the surprising struggles associated and of re-releasing into the wild
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Mi Búho’ es una cándida pero rigurosa y bien documentada historia personal, narrada en forma de diario con fecha y acompañada de unas preciosas ilustraciones propias, de un hombre que recoge y acoge a una cría de búho de tan sólo unas pocas semanas de una muerte segura a manos de unos graznos (enemigos mortales de esta especie de alados).
A parte de describirnos la anatomía, comportamientos y día a día con Búho, que permaneció junto a él durante nada menos que tres años, el autor, gran amante
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
At the time, I was helping care for a very injured great horned owl at the nature center where I now work. It was an incredibly strong bird with an intense stare and a grip like the proverbial vice. (I say this, even though I’ve never put my hand in a vice, but I have been gripped by a scared great horned owl, so my comparison is purely hypothetical.)

When I discovered Bernd Heinrich’s “One Man’s Owl,” I had to read it. The book details the author’s rescue of an orphan great horned owlet knocked
Mark Carey
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature, books-i-own
Heinrich's account of his time spent with Bubo is a cross between a journal and a scientific paper. His observations are acute and his understanding grows over time. The antics of Bubo and two crows that join the family are educational and amusing. A great read for the naturalists among us.
Janet Mahlum
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I collect owls, not live ones, of course, but owls on towels and sheets, owl mugs, owl cookie jar, owl chalk board, owl etc. Also, my youngest brother had a South American Savannah hawk for a number of years so I understand the logistics of keeping a predator bird. I have dozens of amazing stories about Savannah. A friend and co-volunteer at the library donated books section had this book come across her desk and passed it on to me to read and return. Some of the book I liked very, very much, so ...more
Trish Graboske
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Frustratingly, Goodreads does not list the version I read, which is the original, complete 1987 edition from Princeton University Press. It is extremely interesting to see how Mr Heinrich studies nature, by close observation of everything that an animal does. He also writes very well, but I knew that from years of reading his columns in Natural History magazine.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Not as good as his raven books, but charming and mildly informative nonetheless.
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this account of Heinrich's raising of a great horned owl, Bubo, who had tumbled from his nest during a snowstorm. Heinrich is a naturalist, who truly lives by his convictions. He spends part of the year living in a small, rustic cabin, called Kerflunk, in the Maine woods. It is where he seems to feel most at home. Bubo and Heinrich establish a very close bond. So close that Bubo shortened some guests' visits, by dive-bombing them whenever they ventured outside Kerflunk. The text is accom ...more
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecology
The ultimate question of this book is why would corvids mob owls instead of simply hiding or whatever takes to attract less attention to them? To test his hypotheses, he hand raises 2 crows that eventually end up interacting with the owl and reveal the answer.

The writing is, as always for Heinrich, excellent. Plenty of descriptions of isolated details of how it is to live with an owl, what kind of cuisine it prefers, what kind of nonsensical behavior it displays at times...

The book feels someho
Genine Franklin-Clark
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I started this several days ago, neglected to put it on my currently reading list until now, when I went to list it as finished. I enjoy most books about animals and this was no exception. The great horned owl was rescued after he fell from the nest (where his siblings remained.) I didn't see him as being kept as a pet, although he was kept inside initially and slowly weaned to the outside and to hunting and living on his own.

I look forward to reading more by this author.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
One Man's Owl is a highly readable account of the author's experiences raising a rescued great horned owl chick. The book is an excellent combination of scientific information, observations, and details along with the personal, anecdotal, and even philosophical.

There may be a slight bit of digression into wordiness, but if you ever wanted to know almost anything about owls, Heinrich has written it here.

Book Bingo 2016 - With an animal as a key character
Jul 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Ah books about raptors... I read this book quite quickly, but had a hard time with the pet-like nature of the owl for the author. I about died as he described another man who allows the public to touch, hug, and have pda with another owl... all in the name of education... mmmhmm. Still, if you like owls, this is worth a read.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Oct 10, 2010 marked it as maybe-read-sometime  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: (via Richthofen, indirectly)
Shelves: animals, science
Someone linked me to a picture from this book. Then I had to find out where the picture was from initially this blog entry, but ultimately from this book. And the quoted excerpts led me to conclude this was something I needed to read. ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natural-history
I thought it was a very good book with nice, descriptive details of the owls and Heinrich's past experiences. Bubo, the owl in the book is so cute! I can just picture him in my mind. There is also real lovely scientific information of the owls.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Engaging story of the author's time with an owl he raises from a chick through three seasons. First rate science book! Satisfyingly, it is written with both the tone of an investigator and friend.
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
absolutely delightful! but it's Bernd Heinrich, so what do you expect? I read the unabridged edition from 1987 (calling it "unabridged" makes me laugh because it's only 224 pages!) - if you can read the whole thing, I recommend it.
Kelly Rourke
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was turned off by the whole premise of trying to keep a Great Horned Owl as a pet...
May 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: birds
I love Bernd Heinrich, but most of his nature books are a bit slow going. This one, about him rearing a great horned owlet, is interesting, funny, and a great read.
Toesnorth's mom
Dec 06, 2012 added it
Shelves: mom-s
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Quite a change of pace for me. But this book turned out to be just as emotionally gripping and exciting as any Sci Fi I have read.
Jun 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
A somewhat selfish memoir of a man who used science as an excuse to keep a pet great horned owl. Cute anecdotes about the owl growing up abound, but its intent as "research" is really quite pathetic.
Toni Wright
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Jan 28, 2012
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Bernd Heinrich was born in Germany (April 19, 1940) and moved to Wilton, Maine as a child. He studied at the University of Maine and UCLA and is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Vermont.

He is the author of many books including Winter World, Ravens in Winter, Mind of the Raven and Why We Run. Many of his books focus on the natural world just outside the cabin door.

Heinrich has w
“We are social animals. We like to feel a part of something of beauty and power that transcends our insignificance. It can be a religion, a political party, a ball club. Why not also Nature? I feel a strong identity with the world of living things. I was born into it; we all were. But we may not feel the ties unless we gain intimacy by seeing, feeling, smelling, touching and studying the natural world. Trying to live in harmony with the dictates of nature is probably as inspirational as living in harmony with the Koran or the Bible. Perhaps it is also a timely undertaking.” 6 likes
“The touching of nature is, to me, more than a satisfying of my curiosity. It is the source of my wonder. Any one species is a link to my life and all of life that has ever been. To contemplate life is akin to a religious meditation. Indeed, to have a false view of nature is, to me, a sacrilege, because it can breed needless pain. To be a part of nature, through touching and understanding, is ti strive to understand the principles of how nature operates. And to know those principles is to be able to work for the good of all.” 0 likes
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