The Wise Hours
A Journey into the Wild and Secret World of Owls
by Miriam Darlington
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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2023
Owls have existed for over sixty million years, and in the relatively short time we have shared the planet with these majestic birds they have ignited the human imagination. But even as owls continue to captivate our collective consciousness, celebrated British nature writer Miriam Darlington finds herself struck by all she doesn't know about the true nature of these enigmatic creatures.
Darlington begins her fieldwork in the British Isles with her teenage son, Benji. As her avian fascination grows, she travels to France, Serbia, Spain, Finland, and the frosted Lapland borders of the Arctic for rare encounters with the Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl, Pygmy Owl, Snowy Owl, and more. But when her son develops a mysterious illness, her quest to understand the elusive nature of owls becomes entangled with a search for finding a cure.
In The Wise Hours, Darlington watches and listens to the natural world and to the rhythms of her home and family, inviting readers to discover the wonders of owls alongside her while rewilding our imagination with the mystery, fragility, and magnificence of all creatures.
About the Author: Miriam Darlington contributes frequently to The Times, The Guardian, and The Ecologist, and is also the author of Otter Country, first published in the UK and forthcoming in the US from Tin House in 2024. She lives in Devon, England.
“A beautiful book; wise and sharp-eared as its subject.” —Robert Macfarlane
"Enchanting." - Tristan Gooley
"Darlington brings humor, humility, and a refreshing subjectivity to her quest to understand these charismatic creatures." - Melissa Harrison, author of All Among the Barley
"Captivating." - The Times
"Achingly beautiful." - The Guardian
"Vivid and engaging." - Sunday Times
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Average rating from 4 members
I love reading nature nonfiction books and Owls may be my favorite type of bird. So when I saw this I was so excited. Miriam Darlington has a great writing style and I felt like I was on the journey with her. Overall this kept me invested and what I was expecting for the book.
"Little Owls, I had read, appear to have something named “small-owl syndrome” and regularly punch above their weight. Even here where they are very rare, this one was trying to singe us with its stare. Not much bigger than a song thrush, they can’t hurt people, but often take on birds that are larger than themselves, and frequently get mobbed because of this aggressive tendency."
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