64 pages, 60 colour plates
Meet the saw-whet, the tiniest of Minnesota’s owls, a mere eight inches from the tip of its blunt tail to the top of its rounded head. The simplest way to find one is to listen for the scolding calls of a flock of agitated chickadees. Or, if you’re lucky, you might witness the male throwing all caution to the wind and “co-co-co-co-ing” for a mate, inching forward on every note like the bird in a cuckoo clock.
From this fetching little creature to the magnificent great gray, the owls of Minnesota have found the perfect spokeswoman in this book, which is as charming as it is informative. Written with wit and a remarkable command of bird lore by Laura Erickson, well known to public radio listeners and birdwatchers everywhere, Twelve Owls also features enchanting pictures, from the long view to up-close detail, by award-winning artist Betsy Bowen.
“Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?” the barred owl asks, breaking into a duet that sounds like maniacal laughter when he gets lucky. The great gray, the biggest of the state’s – and perhaps the world’s – owls, hurls herself into the snow and fetches up a meadow vole, leaving behind a beautiful snow angel.
The telling detail, the natural drama, the identifying features, and the environmental story all unfold in Erickson’s engaging account of what to look for, where to look, and what these much-mythologized but very real denizens of the bird kingdom might be doing in the state of Minnesota.
"Both young readers and adults would enjoy Twelve Owls and even advanced birders are likely to find themselves quite often saying, ‘I didn’t know that.’ It would make a great gift for anyone interested in birds, especially owls."
- Chirps, Chequamegon Bird Club
"Richly illustrated by renowned woodcut artist and painter Betsy Bowen, it brims with lively and erudite vignettes that will enhance your ability to find and appreciate our native owls, and indeed all birds, no matter your level of experience."
- Zumbro Valley Audubon Society
"If you are interested in owls or a fan of Laura Erickson or Betsy Bowen’s work, this is one to check out."
- Trumpeter, The Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter
"The text reads like the secret lives of owls while the images, painted to ‘actual size,’ give a sense of the large and small of these raptors."
- Lake Superior Magazine
"Award-winning artist Betsy Bowen provides the illustrations, giving Erickson’s birds soulful, attention-grabbing, penetrating eyes."
- BirdWatching Magazine
"Twelve Owls is a truly lovely book that offers something for young and old alike."
- Duluth News-Tribune
"Young readers will appreciate the vibrant illustrations, and older readers – and adults – will learn a great deal about the complex world of owls."
"A gift-worthy field guide."
- Star Tribune
"Twelve Owls is meant for people who want to know more about owls in Minnesota, from beginners to the more advanced bird watcher."
- Clay Christensen, St. Anthony Park Bugie
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Northern Hawk Owl
Great Horned Owl
Great Gray Owl
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Laura Erickson has spent the past thirty-five years writing and speaking about birds and promoting their conservation. Since 1986, she has produced a daily radio spot and iTunes podcast, For the Birds, which airs on community and public radio stations from Powell, Wyoming, to Jamestown, New York. She was science editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is a regular contributor to Journey North, the Webby Award–winning educational website about migration. She is the author of four previous books about birds, including Sharing the Wonder of Birds with Kids, which received the National Outdoor Book Award.
Betsy Bowen is a woodcut printmaker and painter who has illustrated several books, among them Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman and Big Belching Bog, both available from the University of Minnesota Press. She lives in Grand Marais, Minnesota.