- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Edition ed. edition (December 13, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691000654
- ISBN-13: 978-0691000657
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Man's Owl: Abridged Edition Paperback – Abridged, January 2, 1994
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[Bernd Heinrich] tells the tender story of a very small animal experiment. The experiment is clearly a ruse--an excuse for indulging the infatuation that blossoms when a man stumbles over a baby owl. Its tiny talon sticking out of the snow catches his attention. . . . Mr. Heinrich . . . knows only too well that naturalists take a dim view of the urge to remove a bird from the wild and take it home to nurse. This book, complete with affectionate drawings and photographs by the author, may serve as his apology.---Bonnie Bilyeu Gordon, The New York Times Book Review
Bernd Heinrich is a nature lover, a scholar, and a fine writer. . . . One Man's Owl straddles the line between formal science and sheer love of the wild, and does it beautifully.---David M. Graber, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
About the Author
Bernd Heinrich is Professor of Zoology at the University of Vermont and the author of several books, which include Bumblebee Economics (Harvard) and Ravens in Winter (Summit). Alice Calaprice abridged and revised this edition of One Man's Owl. The first edition of the book was a selection of the Nature Book Society and the Library of Science.
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Not long after discovering a nest of Great Horned Owls on his property, a storm destroys part of the nest and one of the chicks falls to the ground. Heinrich, who can never resist an opportunity to study wild things up close, scoops the little fellow up, christens him Bubo and takes him home to raise. What ensues is a delightful, often revealing account of how an owl and a man struggle to cross the divide between species.
That both are determined is obvious. Heinrich puts up with all sorts of destructive and rude behavior from his childish guest. Bubo chews up, eats and regurgitates washcloths, favorite t-shirts and socks. He holds staring matches with the family cat, terrorizes guests, whom he considers competitors for Heindrich's attention, and rearranges Heindrich's eating and sleeping schedule. In return, Heindrich gets to study everything about the owl - from his eyelids and feather patterns to the mechanical workings of the owl's talons and the meanings of his various hoots and hisses. It is an uneasy if affectionate relationship.
However Heinrich, who works as a university professor, must eventually return to his job and Bubo is sent to a wildlife rehabilitation center. There, all attempts at rehabilitation fail and Bubo is pronounced incorrigable. It is also clear that Bubo is miserable. Heinrich, who feels this is a waste of Bubo's life, eventuallly reclaims the bird, takes him back to Maine and spends another summer helping the bird find his adult wings.
This is a revealing and touching story that goes way beyond the scientific study that Heinrich originally planned. As Heinrich himself acknowledges it became a very personal thing, a relationship between one man and one owl. A wonderful read.