Mysterious, silent and ferocious birds of prey.
Owls are almost everywhere. These distinctive birds populate every continent except Antarctica and survive in everything from arid desert, to arctic tundra, to dense rain forest.
From ancient mythology to Harry Potter, owls hold an enduring place in the human imagination. In some cultures they are revered; in others, feared. And for every superstition that associates owls with good fortune, a dozen more link them to death, sickness or evil.
Frances Backhouse provides an in-depth yet lively study of these fascinating birds. Topics include anatomy and adaptations, mating behaviors, egg laying and chick rearing, feeding habits, communication displays and location.
Superbly designed birds of prey, owls are equipped with highly effective tools for killing and dismembering their prey: strong feet with curved, stiletto-like talons and a sturdy hooked bill with razor-sharp cutting edges. What makes owls unique is that most of them hunt in darkness from dusk to dawn using their keen hearing, enhanced low-light vision and sound-muffling structures on their flight feathers.
With detailed profiles of and range maps for all 23 species, along with 70 color photographs illustrating key behavioral characteristics, Owls of North America is a solid reference for birders, naturalists and general readers.
About the author
Frances Backhouse studied biology in university and worked as a park naturalist and as a biologist before becoming an environmental journalist and author. Her six previous books include Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver and Children of the Klondike, which won the 2010 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her partner, Mark Zuehlke, who is also a writer. Frances loves exploring the natural world both close to home and far away, especially when those explorations involve tent-camping. If there’s a beaver habitat nearby, it’s even better.
Seventy beautiful colour photographs complement Backhouse's informative and interesting text.
Lake Wah-Wash-Kesh Conservation Association
If you enjoy owls or learning about wildlife in North America, you will enjoy Owls of North America by Frances Backhouse. [The book] looks at such subjects as "Owls and Humans," how owls are adapted for nightlife, their feeding habits, communication and mating. The chapter "Life's Journey" describes an owl's life from eggs and incubation to nestlings to when they leave the nest and become independent, as well as many reasons for their death. The chapter on "Species Profiles" looks at the 23 species of owls found in North America. The profiles are reasonable in depth providing information on such subjects as: appearance, voice, roosting sites, distribution, habitat, feeding, breeding, migration, and conservation. Distribution maps are also included. Seventy beautiful colour photographs complement Backhouse's information and informative text.
An in-depth yet lively study of these fascinating birds... Exceptionally well done.
The seventy color photographs are stunning, and have been contributed by some of the best wildlife photographers out there, making this a must-have book for your library, if you are a lover of all things outdoors... A most impressive package that you cannot help but enjoy.
A thoroughly charming and informative look at these enigmatic creatures of the night.
The Chronicle Herald
These are lavishly illustrated, beautifully designed volumes in which Backhouse not only provides information about different species but also shows how they fit into their ecosystems and how they relate to humans. (reviewed with Woodpeckers of North America)
The Whitehorse Star
The accounts of the various birds are thorough, covering the bird's appearance, voice, timing of activities, roosting sites, breeding, migration, and conservation status. Excellent photographs accompany the text.
Science Books and Films
An in-depth yet lively study of these fascinating birds. Topics include anatomy and adaptations, mating behaviours, egg laying and chick rearing, feeding habits, communication displays and location. Exceptionally well done.
Muskoka Today (Gravenhurst ON)
Wildlife author Constance Backhouse's well-researched and informative book helps us get closer to these haunting and often misunderstood birds.
Dayton Daily News
Readers with an interest in owls will simply not find a better book than respected science and environmental writer Frances Backhouse's Owls of North America. The book is large and handsome, suitable for coffee table adornment, but don't let it spend too much time there.... Owls of North America will be a fabulous gift for the naturalist or curious child on your list.
Wildlife author Frances Backhouse's well-researched and informative book helps us get closer to these haunting and often misunderstood birds.
Packed with information, going from generalities to species profiles, complete with stunning photographs.
The Star Phoenix
Frances Backhouse provides an in-depth yet lively study of these fascinating birds. Topics include anatomy and adaptations, mating behaviors, egg laying and chick rearing, feeding habits, communication displays and location...With detailed profiles of and range maps for all 23 species, along with 70 color photographs illustrating key behavioral characteristics, Owls of North America is a solid reference for birders, naturalists and general readers.
Birdbooker Report 215, The Guardian
Backhouse takes an intimate look at the 22 species of typical owls and one species of barn owl found in North America...Heavily illustrated with beautiful, clear photographs.
[starred review] A remarkable amount of information is presented, but in a way that anyone can understand.... Owls are fascinating creatures. If you'd like to have a light shone into their nocturnal world and learn more about them and their live, then this book is for you.
The Birder's Library.com
The primary audience for this superbly written book about owls includes birdwatchers, naturalists, and general readers. Frances Backhouse clearly has a unique talent for environmental writing. Her smooth style belies the tremendous synthesis of the substantial and complex scientific material she has reviewed in preparing for this book. Biologists and owl researchers will find it a useful reference in explaining to family members and other non-biologists some of the excitement and passion they feel about owls. This is exactly the kind of book one would (or should) find in all Nature or Environmental Education Centres.... The topics offered reflect the key aspects of owl ecology, and flow nicely from start to finish.... The fundamental strength of the book is the way it incorporates much more information on the ecological aspects of the owls, and presents this in more depth, and in a much clearer, coherent way than its predecessors. The choice of chapter topics, components in the species profiles, and overall flow of the book are clearly well thought out. Likewise, the 70-plus photographs were chosen and placed with care, so that they not only convey a nice image of an owl, but also emphasize the associated message in the text.
Journal of the British Ornithologists' Union
Large, beautifully produced [and] has fantastic photography... enjoyable and comprehensive.... Recommended to anyone wishing to learn more about [this] fascinating family.
There can't be too many books about owls. That's because we know these birds -- which are rarely seen and are vocal for only brief intervals each year -- mostly through the work of scientists and writers.... With her clean and clear text, she illuminates these fascinating birds brightly. Her book invites a deeper appreciation of these mysterious neighbors of ours.
Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN
Owls of North America is a stunning, photo-loaded book featuring the mysterious and fantastic family of birds known as owls. While this oversized volume of glossy pages might be mistaken for a "coffee table book," it is undoubtedly much more than that... The text, while not simple, is definitely readable for younger audiences (pre-teen and up). It was hard to keep our 10-year-old from running off with the book.