Owls of the United States and Canada
256 pages, 9 x 11
188 colour photos, 19 maps
Release Date:15 Nov 2007

Owls of the United States and Canada

A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior

UBC Press

There is no group of birds more mysterious and fascinating than owls. They have become the stuff of lore and legend – from the Roman myth that an owl foot could reveal secrets to the First Nations belief that an owl feather could give a newborn better night vision. But the truth about owls is much more exciting.

In this gorgeous book, celebrated natural history writer and wildlife photographer Wayne Lynch reveals the secrets of these elusive species with stunning photographs, personal anecdotes, and accessible science. The photos alone are masterpieces. Unlike most published owl photos, the majority of these were taken in the wild – a product of the author-photographer’s incredible knowledge and patience.

Lynch complements the photos with facts about anatomy, habitat, diet, and family life. For each of nineteen species inhabiting Canada and the United States, he provides a range map and a brief discussion of its distribution, population size, and status. Lynch debunks myths about owls’ “supernatural” powers of sight and hearing, discusses courtship rituals, and offers personal tips for finding them in the wild.

From the great horned to the tiny elf owl, this amazing volume captures the beauty and mystery of these charismatic birds of prey.

Never before has one book revealed so many secrets about what is perhaps North America’s most elusive winged predator. With a text that brims with information on anatomy, habitat, diet and social life – supplemented by a breathtaking array of photos of owls in flight or alighted – the book is the life work of a doctor who gave up medicine so he could pursue his private fascination. The Globe and Mail
In addition to a great eye for an image, Lynch has a scientist’s mind for detail and a love for the natural world that permeates all of his writing. …it might appear that this is just another coffee-table book with great photographs of owls, but it’s so much more than that. …this is simply an excellent book. Richard J. Cannings, Discovery, Vol.37, No.1
Wayne Lynch is the author of numerous award-winning books and television documentaries. One of Canada’s most widely published photographers, his books include Wild Birds across the Prairies, Mountain Bears, and Penguins of the World. He lives in Calgary.


Introduction: Owl Addiction

Chapter 1:  Anatomy of an Owl

Paleocene Origins

WMDs: Weapons of Mouse Destruction

On Wings That Whisper

Colors that Disguise

Fretting with Feathers

Chapter 2: Son et Lumière

Sound Advice

The Handicap of Darkness

The Eyes of Owls

The Nocturnal Syndrome

Chapter 3: Haunts and Hideaways

From Tundra and Taiga to Mountains and Marshlands


Hot and Cold Weather Woes

Roost Rewards

Fleeing from Winter

Owl Invasions

Chapter 4: The Owlish Appetite

Foods That Fight Back

Pellet Diaries

Hunting Techniques

Hoarding for Hard Times

Chapter 5: Family Life

Who Gives a Hoot?

Courtship Conduct

House Hunting

The Cloacal Kiss

Oology 101

The Tedium of Incubation

Sexual Dimorphism: The Great Debate

Chapter 6: The Next Generation

Early Chick Life

Asynchronous Hatching: A Strategy

Life in the Nest

Roamers, Branchers, and Homebodies

The Young and the Restless

Chapter 7: Predators, Pirates, and Pests


A Call to Arms

Chapter 8: Owls and Humans


Appendix: Scientific Names of Plants and Animals



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