Book review: Messages From An Owl by Max R. Terman

Messages from an owl

Messages From An Owl by Max R. Terman
Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 1996)
Non-Fiction, Biology

Messages From An Owl was one of the highest rated books on my to-read list. With an average rating of 4.67, I felt it must be amazing. And even though this rating is based only on 5 people (I know, that is very little), I decided to give it a try.

The author, Max R. Terman, is a zoologist from Kansas. One day, he rescues a great horned owlet and decides to try and raise it. Many biologists believe that this is a futile try, as most hand-raises owl are never capable of surviving on their own, let alone be a normal functioning member of their species. Terman tries anyway and we follow him on his adventures. By the end of the book he has told us all about the ecology and life history of the great horned owl. He doesn’t forget the more general science education either. The best is that he manages to teach all these things without me noticing it. I was so drawn to Stripey’s story. We get to know this owl through all the stages of life, making me feel very connected. By interweaving his own experiences with his knowledge, the author managed to make this a very pleasurable book.

The writing style was engaging and had a nice flow. The academic background of the author shines through his sentence construction and word use, but this doesn’t make it unnecessarily complicated.

My favorite quote was actually a quote of the ecologist Richard Brewer that Terman put in the book: ‘We have the responsibility for protecting the earth not because every species is kin but because we are the only one that knows it.’ Little addition from my side: maybe we should also save them because we are the ones destroying their world.



Being a biologist myself I might be a tad biased, but I think that anyone who is even remotely interested in owls or nature should give this one a try! Let’s make Messages From An Owl more popular and increase its number of ratings. I just updated mine, so now it has 6 already!

Final rating: ★★★★★


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