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Owls: The Silent Fliers

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For centuries, owls have held an extraordinary fascination for people. Since Roman times, they have both been persecuted as harbingers of death and treasured as the embodiment of good fortune. Even today they are shot and trapped for sport or killed for the supposed curative powers of their eyes and feathers. It is a testament to the owl's great intelligence and toughness that it has survived human contact at all.

Today, 19 species of owls can be found in North America and this magnificent book is a celebration of their survival. R.D. Lawrence's engaging text, complemented with dozens of stunning color images by America's top wildlife photographers, explains how owls hunt, what they feed on, how they see in the dark and much more. Each chapter focuses on a different species, from the majestic great horned owl and the rare ferruginous pygmy owl to the strange looking barn owl.

These individual portraits include each bird's vital statistics, along with range maps, information on their typical nesting and breeding patterns and detailed descriptions of their relationships with their family and environment. Lastly, owl-watching tips will inform every bird watcher.

176 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1997

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About the author

R.D. Lawrence

43 books31 followers
R.D. Lawrence was a Canadian naturalist and wildlife author. Born aboard ship in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of Spain on September 12, 1921, he moved to Canada in 1954. RD Lawrence died of Alzheimer's on November 27, 2003 in Haliburton County, Ontario, Canada.

RD Lawrence's many books are published in 26 countries and 15 languages and take us to animal habitats far from humans; to the boreal forests of North America alive with puma, beaver, bear, timber wolves and eagles, to the frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest where orcas thrive, and to the sharks of the Red Sea.

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5 stars
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12 (38%)
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2 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
190 reviews9 followers
June 24, 2013
This is the first book by R.D. Lawrence I've read that goes in depth about a specific species. I've read all of his books about his exploration, his farm, his various rehabilitated animal guests. I wasn't sure I'd like a book that was too technical, but as always R.D. Lawrence charmed me with personal stories of his interactions with owls, interspersed with the drier information.

This book covers all the of the major owl species in the world, and goes into great detail about each one in a dedicated chapter. We learn about their juvenile and adult feather coloration, size and weight, diet, mating habits (including egg color and size, gestation time, fledging time), hunting habits, habitat preferences, their various calls, and even the color of their toenails and beaks. Each chapters ends with a map showing their territory and migratory patterns. Also found throughout this book are many beautiful, full color photos of owls in their natural habitat.

I read each and every page of this book with great interest, and came away knowing a lot more about these solitary, elusive birds. We hear an owl near our house on many evenings, and after reading this book I am certain it's a barred owl.
Profile Image for Maya.
212 reviews
September 6, 2016
"Between spring and autumn, night-hunting owls sometimes store surplus prey for short periods, perhaps for one or two days, but they usually eat it before it goes bad. In winter, however, saw-whet, great horned, snowy and boreal owls who have made several successful hunts, have been known to store the extra prey, which of course freezes, for some time. Now, one would think that for a small owl like the saw-whet, or even for a large owl like the great horned, frozen meat would be hard to tear up and swallow. And so it is. But the owls have found a way around that problem, a simple way: they fluff out their feathers, cover the frozen prey -- as though they were sitting on eggs or owlets -- and thaw it with their body heat. But that is only one benefit of plumage."
Profile Image for Tulara.
255 reviews
July 28, 2010
I enjoyed reading about the owls - I had no idea of all the different kinds. I had some burrowing owls living in a large drainpipe I had on the property in California - they were great. When I came home in the dark and started down the driveway, I'd see them at the crest of the small hill seemingly glaring at my interruption of their evening. They came back every year.
The author has a tendency to brush aside people who don't know bird species or bird knowledge. He's a little condescending when writing about his nature guide and his interactions with people who find birds who are hurt, but don't know what to do.
Profile Image for Christian Brown.
58 reviews2 followers
July 15, 2007
This is a really cool book that serves as an introduction to some of the different owl species in North America as told by an owl expert of 76 years. In the book, he talks about personal stories regarding owl rehabilitation and rescue, and also breaks down basic information as to diet, habitat, personality, hunting style and mating season. There are also some fantastic pictures in the book. A good, quick, yet informative read.
Profile Image for Carina.
93 reviews
October 16, 2013
I liked this book because the author tells of his experiences with different species of owls, and I also liked the photos. It was a bit confusing at times, but in the end it was a good reference book. I recommend this to anyone who likes owl.
Profile Image for Claire.
117 reviews7 followers
August 21, 2012
This book was filled with information, great stories, and beautiful pictures. The reader really gets a sense of how involved with the natural world the author is.
Profile Image for Amy Derwae.
40 reviews6 followers
January 1, 2015
Beautiful photos, great information and wonderful stories about the author's interactions with owls.
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

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