I’m a huge fan of animal stories. In fact, the more the better! In my reading, I’ve learned so much about cats, dogs, horses, jaguars, seals–you name it.
The minute I saw The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar on a new books list, I knew I had to get it. Eventually, I will buy my own copy. After all, how many people can say they’ve had a Tawny Owl as a pet for fifteen years? British historian Martin Windrow writes engagingly and movingly about everyday life with an owl, and how he came to have one as a pet. In a way, it’s also a portrait of everyday life in England in the not-too-distant past.
Mumble had been hand-raised by humans, so she had no fear of them and did not know how to live in the wild. Windrow had an owl named Wellington before Mumble.Some things he did right; others not. But the personalities of bird and man did not match. Windrow credits his mistakes with Wellington as good preparation for Mumble. And with Mumble, it was love at first kweep–and the first ride on his shoulder. You’ll laugh, cry, and share in the occasional frustrations. Mumble was very territorial; she was devoted to Windrow, but didn’t like strangers.
Many lucky people have worked with owls, or been involved with their rehabilitation if they’ve been injured, which takes intensive special training and licenses. From the 30+ books about owls I have read so far, it is a VERY bad idea to have an owl as a pet. The beginning, “A Note on Owls” educates the reader about what to do–and not if you encounter an owl in the wild. He also lists well-known UK resources, such as the Hawk and Owl Trust. Windrow devotes another chapter on the science and folklore of owls. The gorgeous illustrations through the book are very whimsical. I also found the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in separate research.
The London Daily Mail gives a wonderful synopsis of parts of the book, accompanied by some of its photos. Now, I ask you–who can resist Mumble’s face?
I also wanted to hear what a Tawny Owl sounded like. Here’s a clip from YouTube: