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Owls: A Wildlife Handbook (Johnson Nature) Paperback – May 1, 1998
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The 19 species of owls that are native to North America share many features in common, both biological and cultural. In this well-written guidebook, veteran wildlife student Kim Long considers the place of owls in human mythology and custom, examines the biology of various representative species, and gives a full account of each major type. Writing of the great horned owl, for instance, which lives everywhere but the highest Arctic, Long gives a species description that compares male and female; provides weight, tail length, and wingspan; notes characteristic habits; and describes the owl's call ("a series of 3-8 loud, low hoots"). Owl fanciers and birders in general will want this slender book close at hand. --Gregory McNamee
This latest release in the Johnson Nature series offers information on owl evolution (fossils date back 38 to 54 million years), anatomy, vision and hearing capabilities, and the molting process. Long discusses hunting techniques (owls are formidable predators), diet, mating and reproduction, nesting sites, mortality and diseases, calls, territorial behavior, and migration. The 19 species that breed in North America are profiled, and each profile includes a physical description, habitat, habits, a range map, and a color painting. A chapter on building owl houses is partnered with one detailing the relationship between owls and humans. Long also gives a cultural history of the birds, citing related folklore and mythology. Many black-and-white and color illustrations help ensure that birdwatchers will love this book. George Cohen
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