‘Her softness took my breath away. Deadly beauty. She turned her face towards me. There is a narrow area that falls between pleasing and preposterous, and this owl’s circular face and bright yellow eyes fitted into it with perfect grace…’
Owls have captivated the human imagination for millennia. We have fixated on this night hunter as predator, messenger, emblem of wisdom or portent of doom. In Owl Sense, Miriam Darlington sets out to tell a new story.
Her fieldwork begins with wild encounters in the British Isles, on the owl walks she takes with her teenage son Benji. From here, Darlington seeks to identify every European species of this charismatic and elusive bird, on a journey that will take her from southern Spain through France, Serbia and Finland, and to the frosted borders of the Arctic.
Along the way, however, Benji succumbs to a mysterious and disabling illness, and her owl quest soon becomes entangled with the search for his cure.
Owl Sense is a book about the wild in nature and in the unpredictable course of our human lives. In her watching and deep listening to owls in the natural world, Darlington cleaves myth from reality and brings the strangeness and magnificence of these creatures to life.