Wesley the Owl - Stacey O'Brien

Wesley the Owl

Author: Stacey O'Brien

  • Publication Date: 2008-08-19
  • Category: Nature
5 Score: 5
(From 95 Ratings)


On Valentine's Day 1985, biologist Stacey O'Brien first met a four-day-old baby barn owl -- a fateful encounter that would turn into an astonishing 19-year saga. With nerve damage in one wing, the owlet's ability to fly was forever compromised, and he had no hope of surviving on his own in the wild. O'Brien, a young assistant in the owl laboratory at Caltech, was immediately smitten, promising to care for the helpless owlet and give him a permanent home. Wesley the Owl is the funny, poignant story of their dramatic two decades together.

With both a tender heart and a scientist's eye, O'Brien studied Wesley's strange habits intensively and first-hand -- and provided a mice-only diet that required her to buy the rodents in bulk (28,000 over the owl's lifetime). As Wesley grew, she snapped photos of him at every stage like any proud parent, recording his life from a helpless ball of fuzz to a playful, clumsy adolescent to a gorgeous, gold-and-white, macho adult owl with a heart-shaped face and an outsize personality that belied his 18-inch stature. Stacey and Wesley's bond deepened as she discovered Wesley's individual personality, subtle emotions, and playful nature that could also turn fiercely loyal and protective -- though she could have done without Wesley's driving away her would-be human suitors!

O'Brien also brings us inside the prestigious research community, a kind of scientific Hogwarts where resident owls sometimes flew freely from office to office and eccentric, brilliant scientists were extraordinarily committed to studying and helping animals; all of them were changed by the animal they loved. As O'Brien gets close to Wesley, she makes important discoveries about owl behavior, intelligence, and communication, coining the term "The Way of the Owl" to describe his inclinations: he did not tolerate lies, held her to her promises, and provided unconditional love, though he was not beyond an occasional sulk. When O'Brien develops her own life-threatening illness, the biologist who saved the life of a helpless baby bird is herself rescued from death by the insistent love and courage of this wild animal.

Enhanced by wonderful photos, Wesley the Owl is a thoroughly engaging, heartwarming, often funny story of a complex, emotional, non-human being capable of reason, play, and, most important, love and loyalty. It is sure to be cherished by animal lovers everywhere.


  • Wesley the Owl

    By Fishhick
    Wonderful true story! I want to know how Stacy is doing? I hope she is doing well! To me she is beyond a Fabulous person!
  • Wesley the Owl

    By gnadenfeld
    How this book touched me! We just had barn owls born on our property in an owl box. We had the box for six years without any owls discovering it for a nest. Then this year a breeding pair discovered the box and made a nest where two babies were hatched. We had the pleasure of watching the owlets leave the box and retreat into our barn and eventually fly into trees. In the middle of this, I bumped into a friend I hadn't seen for a long time and she recommended this book. How timely! I enjoyed every minute of reading this book and highly recommend it.
  • Wesley the Owl

    By SharonShaf
    Very good book. It's amazing that a girl and a barn owl could understand each other so completely. Amazing connection!'nn
  • Animal lovers, this book's. for you!

    By NedamTenaj
    This is a wonderful story about the intense bond that can form between members of very dissimilar species. I learned so much about barn owls, their intelligence and their emotional complexity. The author is not a great writer (nor does she claim to be), but she tells her tale with warmth and sincerity.
  • Wesley The Owl

    By Seasmoke1
    I love this book! I gave this to my mother, who read it several times, and also my daughter. As a result, we all have fallen in love with owls. I recommend this read to all wildlife lovers and biology nerds like myself.
  • One of the best books

    By Argulor
    I have read this novel over four times. Every time I learn new owl behaviors and observations, and I fall in love with Wesley again and again. I am very passionate about owls, I have gained a better understand of an owl's world from reading this. This book is a must read fir any animal lover!
  • Wesley the owl

    By Jaknora73
    A great book,I am sure whoever reads it will become interested in owls.
  • Wesley the Owl

    By snowy rocks B)
    This book opened up my eyes,my love for animals.personally I love animals a lot and seeing this connection come to life really opened up my eyes!!!!!!! LOVE THIS BOOK
  • Wesley the Owl

    By Dfgjkk
    An amazing story told so clearly and passionately. I wish all the best to the author and hope there's another owlet out there lucky enough to fall into her arms.
  • I'm in love!

    By Bug424
    This is one of my favorite stories! I think every one should read this book. This story hugs your heart. It made me laugh to tears and left me feeling warm and cuddly in side. I will be giving this book to all my friends as gifts for birthdays and holidays. I am recommending you download or go out and buy this book for your self right now!!!! Enjoy!!!