The photograph of the ferruginous pygmy-owl on page 33 is by Brian E. Small; used with permission. Frontispiece: The great horned owl is primarily a nocturnal hunter, but in the depths of a northern winter it will hunt in the half-light of dusk and dawn. Special discounts are available for bulk purchases of this book. All of our book papers are acid-free, and our jackets and covers are printed on paper with recycled content.
For my wife, Aubrey, who always believed in me and for my owling buddy Dr. I am also indebted to many professional biologists who offered me valuable time with them in the field. I acknowledge Dr. Discussions with other scientists gave me valuable insight into the world of owls, and I am thankful to the veteran owl researcher Denver Holt, bird banders Dr.
James Philips and Heather Proctor, raptor researcher Cindy Platt, and bird biologist Lisa Takats-Priestley, all of whom were enthusiastic, congenial, and helpful. Professional photographers are notoriously secretive about where wildlife can be successfully photographed.
Six of them were not and each gave me valuable tips where I could locate owls.
My heartfelt thanks go out to Rick and Nora Bowers, Dr. Two friends were especially important in bringing this book to fruition. The biologist Jared Hobbs is a great field person and a damn good photographer; his enthusiasm is contagious and his energy enviable. The biologist Dr. Gordon Court has been a valued friend for more than a decade.
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Without his help this book would never have happened. His advice, encouragement, experience, and assistance in the field were more helpful that he can possibly imagine, and I treasure the many happy hours we spent together searching for owls and photographing them. The Alberta Foundation for the Arts provided generous funding to help pay the bills while I buried myself in the library.
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I thank them for their support and belief in the project. I also thank the librarians at the University of Calgary and at the Calgary Public Library who tracked down obscure references for me. Once the book was written, I surrendered the text to six brave souls for technical review. It is a daunting task to carefully read an entire x Acknowledgments manuscript with enough attention to make constructive criticisms, and I am grateful to my reviewers for finding the time to undertake this valuable yet onerous task.
My thanks go out to the Alberta endangered species biologist and raptor specialist Dr. Gordon Court, author and research scientist Dr. James Duncan, researcher and professor of biology Dr.
Frederick Gehlbach, senior government research scientist Dr. Geoff Holroyd, British professor of biology Dr. Graham Martin, and author and retired government research scientist Dr. Robert Nero. All were thorough and methodical in their reviews and insightful with their criticisms. I thank them all for their candor, attention to detail, and helpful suggestions. Of course, I alone accept all responsibility for any errors that may have crept into the text. This is my first book with the Johns Hopkins University Press and I am thrilled to be working with such a prestigious publisher.
The many people I met from various departments at the Press were encouraging and generous with their comments. I especially thank life science editor Dr. Vincent Burke, who devoted himself to the quality of this book.
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He skillfully and graciously guided me along, easing the process throughout. I found him to be knowledgeable, helpful, and creative. His professionalism was unmatched in my 27 years of working with editors. Gibbons; and designer, Glen Burris, for their creative involvement. After 33 years of marriage I still find her the most stimulating, delightful, and unselfish person I have ever met. Her skill as an editor, her toughness as a field companion, and her creativity as a business partner are just three of the many reasons I love her dearly.
She made the magic happen. I have been a critter junkie since I was a child, and owls have been an important part of many significant events in my past. When I was 11, the chance discovery of a boreal owl roosting near my home in Ottawa, Ontario, greatly accelerated my interest in natural history. I felt I had been given a privileged glimpse of a mythical creature. This lucky sighting led me to my local library where I read all the owl books I could find.
Later, when I was a young man in medical school, it was a barred owl that launched my passionate pursuit of photography. One afternoon, during a break between lectures, I was gabbing with a classmate about the unwary barred owl that was wintering on the campus and how easily the secretive bird could be seen.
Within days, I had bought my first camera, and the rest, as they say, is history. An owl also played a role during the courtship of my wife. On one of our earliest dates, I took her to see an eastern screech-owl that I knew was roosting in the woods near her home. I later joked with her that an afternoon owl outing was a good way to minimize courtship expenses and also demonstrate what a sensitive guy I was. Thirty-three years later, we still chuckle about that afternoon, and the photographs I took on that cold January day are among my most treasured.
http://outer-edge-design.com/components/arsenal/464-the-best-mobile.php In September , four years after we were married, I took a leap of faith and abandoned my career as an emergency physician to work as a freelance science writer and wildlife photographer. A book on the ecology of the prairie grasslands was to be my maiden voyage into the uncertain waters of my newly chosen career.
That summer, a pair of burrowing owls rescued me when I needed it most. All the other owls have yellow eyes. It may also preen its nestmates. There was a drought that year and the skies were featureless and hazy, the prairie parched and brittle. I feared I had made a terrible mistake. Was I pursuing an impossible dream?
I erected a canvas photo blind about 50 feet 15 m from one of the nesting pairs of owls, and for several weeks I spent hours every day cramped inside, peeking at the world through a porthole and a camera lens. In the quiet solitude of that desiccated prairie, I frequently wavered in my resolve to alter the direction of my life. The owls, of course, were oblivious to my mental struggle, yet they unknowingly buoyed my spirits, time and again, with intimate glimpses into their private lives. Sometimes, when I was hidden inside the blind I would simply rest my head in my hands and listen to the gentle coo of the owls and the soothing whisper of the wind in full conversation with the prairie.
That summer, the owls were my salvation. In the 27 years that have passed since that first summer on the prairies, owls have repeatedly brought immeasurable joy to my life and left me with many cherished memories.
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One of those memories was the summer Aubrey and I camped alone in the Canadian High Arctic surrounded by herds of musk oxen, inquisitive arctic foxes, and courting king eiders to capture the regal beauty of nesting snowy owls. It was a summer I will never forget. In other parts of the world, owls were sometimes welcome surprises. In the grasslands of Brazil, while searching for giant anteaters, I was delighted every day to see burrowing owls perched atop innumerable termite mounds. The hawk owl resembles the Accipiter hawks in its diurnal habits and hunting style.
In , my love of wildlife led me to Trinidad, where I photographed magnificent leatherback sea turtles nesting at night on the moonlit tropical beaches and ferruginous pygmy-owls hunting in the sunlight and shadows of the rain forest during the day. Sightings of northern owls are on the wish list of many bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts.
In a survey done in the s by the highly respected American Birding Association, 3 northern owls, the secretive boreal owl, the ghostly great gray owl, and the rapacious northern hawk owl, were among the top 10 birds that members in the United States and Canada most wanted to see. Of course, they also wear clothing and jewelry, both tasteful and tacky, embellished with owlish designs and patterns.
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According to the presenter, the respected European owl expert Dr. Heimo Mikkola, there are thousands of owlaholics all over the world, but the majority live in the United States, England, and Australia. At that time, the United States topped the list with International Owl Collectors Clubs, more than twice as many as either of its two rivals.