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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

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  9,675 ratings  ·  1,635 reviews
When biologist Stacey O'Brien first met a four-day-old baby barn owl with nerve damage in one wing, she knew he had no hope of surviving on his own in the wild, so gave him a permanent home living with her. This is the funny, poignant story of their two decades together.

On Valentine's Day 1985, biologist Stacey O'Brien first met a four-day-old baby barn owl -- a fateful en
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Free Press
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Leeann My daughter read this as a 4th grader and almost two years later still talks about how much she loves this book. We even bought her a stuffy owl that …moreMy daughter read this as a 4th grader and almost two years later still talks about how much she loves this book. We even bought her a stuffy owl that she named Wesley and keeps on her bed. This is one of those books that stays with you.(less)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  9,675 ratings  ·  1,635 reviews

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Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
 Li'l Owl
If there ever was a book for owl lovers this is it! It's a truly endearing and educating book. Stacy O'Brien, a biology research student specializing in wild animal behavior, has an opportunity to hand raise a baby barn owl. Wesley was born with nerve damage in one wing, making it impossible for him to survive in the wild. This is not something that she takes lightly as the baby, only four days old, will imprint on her and be 100% dependant on her for everything, 24/7, for his entire life.
Jeanette (Again)
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
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, nonfiction
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
Lisa Vegan
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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

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
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
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
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Doug Bradshaw
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
``Laurie Henderson
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animal-books
I love all animal stories and accordingly fell in love with Wesley the Owl.
Ginny Messina
Oct 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Who doesn't like owls? How can you not, they're majestic - like Kookaburras.

The first 100 pages flew by in 3 hours. Every time I saw a pic of Wesley I thought 'he's so fucking adorable!' And the author Stacey O'Brien is cute to boot too.

Such great stories and funny bits like the guy that came over and wanted to see Wesley but it had to be under the condition that he sit dead-still under a doona blanket with just his eyes peeping out. And Stacey left him there in the room, she went away for 45
Lance Greenfield
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comfort-reads

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
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Tamora Pierce
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was filled with lots of interesting information about owls and barn owls in particular, but the human, emotional side of it made it that much better! Maybe I was feeling especially emotional when I read the book, but I just adored the book, the author and the owl! I would recommend this book to anyone who has a very special animal connection.
Dec 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ashley-s-list
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!
The Captain
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This was recommended to me by Sara in response to me review of h is for hawk in me last muster. It is a memoir of Stacey O’ Brien about the two decades she lived with Wesley the Barn Owl. Stacey was a Caltech biologist when she adopted four day old Wesley. I listened to this audiobook in one sitting. It made me laugh out loud (a lot) and cry (a bit at the end). It made me heart happy. Ye get to learn fun animal facts, learn about the life of the author, and above all learn about the specific tra ...more
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-read
Even if you don't like birds (ehrm, me!) this is a fantastic book. Welsey the owl is quite the character, but it was O'Brien's narration that was fantastic. She's an animal biologist at heart and because of this she is able to give an insightful account on animal behavior and emotion. It really helped me put things into perspective, especially with my own pup.
Mar 27, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Ohhhhh, I love owls so much !!!!! Especially barn owls !!!!I want to buy this.....
Karen Mace
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved the story of Wesley and the 19 years that Stacey O'Brien got to share with him and to witness his behaviour at first hand - quirks and all! He is an amazing character and the author has a great way of telling their story and you learn so much of barn owls in this book. As she is a biologist she understands their behaviour and from the moment she takes him in as 4 day old owlet with no chance of him surviving in the wild due to nerve damage in his wing, they both go on an amazing j ...more
Jessie (saxgrl1)
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nature, birding
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
I am a bird-lover, bird-watcher, and some say, bird-brain. When on a field trip out to one of the plantations, with my son's 3rd grade class, I overheard him tell a classmate who was wondering what type of bird they'd just seen fly overhead, "Ask my mom. She knows her birds." For the past few springs, we've had a pair of screech owls nest near our bedroom window, and they and their offspring put us on the path to The Way of the Owl. Owls abound here by Lake Frances -- I onetime heard the call of ...more
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
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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.” 16 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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