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What An Owl Knows: “Perhaps the best popular and fact-filled informational book on owls to date."

In April 2022, ORI had the immense pleasure of hosting author Jennifer Ackerman as she was collecting research for her latest book. What An Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds was released in June of this year. Visit your favorite local bookstore to pick up a copy!

Cover of the book What An Owl Knows by Jennifer Ackerman. There is a Northern Saw-whet owl perched on a branch on the cover.

If you are familiar with ORI’s staff, you may recognize a few names as you read through the book- Denver Holt, Steve Hiro, Beth Mendelsohn, and other dedicated volunteers and seasonal technicians. So, while we may be slightly biased, we found the book to be thoroughly enjoyable!

“Few books can pull together academic summaries with the joy of seeing owls,” said ORI founder & president Denver Holt. “Ackerman has been able to bring together the expertise of everyone interested in owls, from hobbyist, rehabilitators, veterinarians, photographers, owl-alcoholics, and researchers. She weaves together an enormous amount of information from an enormous number of people, to give us perhaps the best popular and fact-filled informational book on owls to date.”

A smiling white woman looks at a long-eared owl she holds in one hand.
Jennifer Ackerman holding a Long-eared Owl in preparation for release after being banded as part of one of ORI's long-term research projects.

“[Jennifer] quickly became part of the crew, jumping in to trap Long-eared Owls and monitor Great Gray nests, at the same time probing and asking the appropriate questions to get to the essence of our work, and thus the essence of what an owl is,” said long-time volunteer researcher Steve Hiro.

“Having Jennifer Ackerman work alongside our crew was a pleasure,” adds ORI researcher Beth Mendelsohn. “She was observant, insightful, and truly interested in owls.”

“She recognized the value of and celebrated our commitment to long term, in the field research,” said Steve.

“I’ve been recommending the book to everyone I know,” said Lauren Smith, ORI’s Communications Director. “It’s approachable and engaging for those who may not be familiar with the natural history of owls, but also interesting for those of us in the field who probably spend more of our waking hours than most thinking about owls. I enjoyed reading about areas of research that are outside the scope of what ORI focuses on- for example, that studies on Barn Owl hearing have led to the development of hearing tests for infants.”

What An Owl Knows helps us share and celebrate discoveries in owl research, and brings awareness and support for all of the dedicated long-term researchers out there studying owls,” she adds.

“The final book does an excellent job of bringing many aspects of owl research together in an interesting and fun way,” said Beth. “I am so glad that [Jennifer] completed this important project, bringing something that is dear to me (owl research) to millions of people in a fun and easy-to-read book.”


Visit your local bookstore or shop online and get a copy of What An Owl Knows today!

Want to support one of the organizations mentioned in the book? The International Owl Center is selling copies with an autographed name plate! Visit their online store for more information.


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