203 pages, 94 b/w illustrations, b/w distribution maps
For a quarter of a century, Tony Angell and his family shared the remarkable experience of closely observing pairs of western screech owls that occupied a nesting box outside the window of their forest home. The journals in which the author recorded his observations, and the captivating drawings he created, form the heart of this compelling book – a personal account of an artist-naturalist's life with owls.
Angell's extensive illustrations show owls engaged in what owls do – hunting, courting, raising families, and exercising their inquisitive natures – and reveal his immeasurable respect for their secret lives and daunting challenges. Angell discusses the unique characteristics that distinguish owls from other bird species and provides a fascinating overview of the impact owls have had on human culture and thought. He also offers detailed scientific descriptions of the nineteen species of owls found in North America, as well as their close relatives elsewhere. Always emphasizing the interaction of humans and owls, the author affirms by his own example the power of these birds both to beguile and to inspire.
"[...] The House of Owls is well worth reading, both for those already interested in these captivating creatures and for those who simply appreciate a well-written and beautifully illustrated work. Tony Angell manages to do what few others can: He inspires readers not only to admire owls, but also to do whatever we can to ensure that these species remain part of the (not just our) ecosystem. [...]"
– Alison Beringer, Associate Professor of Classics and Humanities at Montclair State University
"Tony Angell writes (and draws) with the absolute authority of one who has studied, rehabilitated, lived with and loved the animals his whole life [...] This book is alive with his chiaroscuro depictions of owls in every imaginable pursuit."
– Wall Street Journal
"Two worlds of wisdom meet in The House of Owls, nature's own in the survival of an owl family through the generations and the all-seeing eye of the artist who is their host and diarist. Tony Angell magnificently depicts this long mutual near-kinship and much more in words straight from the heart and illustrations masterfully true to life."
– Ivan Doig, author of The Whistling Season
"Few artists move us with both words and images. The vigor, unique adaptations and essential life-blood of North American Owls, propelled by powerful illustrations and intimate accounts, animate the pages of The House of Owls, another masterful work by Tony Angell."
– Paul Bannick, author of The Owl and The Woodpecker
"The House of Owls is, simply, a delight for a strigiphile like me. But it will also delight any birder or naturalist, and all those who care about the living world and its more remarkable manifestations."
– From the Foreword by Robert Michael Pyle, author of Chasing Monarchs and Mariposa Road
"A charming personal account, accompanied by nearly 100 illustrations, that underscores how owls and other birds enrich our lives."
– Kirkus Reviews
"There is no other writer on birds today who so perfectly combines a life of observation with his own art and the kind of up-to-date information one gets from associating with researchers."
– Stephen Bodio, contributing editor of Living Bird and author of Aloft, Querencia, and An Eternity of Eagles
"A treat for fans of these strange remote, inquisitive, astonishingly sharp-eared and eyed raptors."
"[Angell's] accounts of owls' lives and habits, along with his intimate, detailed illustrations, manage to make the creatures seem both more familiar and more mysterious [...] A tale well-told, beautifully illustrated, and imparted by just the right voice."
– American Scientist
"'The House of Owls is the apotheosis of a life-time's engagement with owls. Steeped in the tradition of Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon, it blends taxonomy, ornithology, biogeography and autobiography."
– Janette Currie, TLS
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Tony Angell is the author or illustrator of numerous books in the fields of art and natural history. He served as supervisor of environmental education for Washington state's Department of Public Instruction for more than 30 years while also maintaining an award-winning career as a professional artist. He lives in Lake Forest Park, WA.