230 pages, b/w photos
On Valentine's Day 1985, biologist Stacey O'Brien 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 had no hope of surviving on his own in the wild. O'Brien, then 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 is the funny, poignant story of their dramatic two decades together. As Wesley grew, O'Brien snapped photos of him at every stage, recording his life from a helpless ball of fuzz to a playful, clumsy adolescent to a gorgeous, gold-and-white, adult owl with a heart-shaped face and an outsize personality that belied his 18-inch stature. 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.
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Stacey O'Brien is trained as a biologist specializing in wild-animal behaviour. She graduated from Occidental College with a BS in biology and continued her education at Caltech. Stacey now works as a wildlife rescuer and rehabilitation expert with a variety of local animals, including the endangered brown pelican, owls, seabirds, possums, and songbirds. She lives in Southern California.