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Twelve Owls

2011
Author:

Laura Erickson
Illustrations by Betsy Bowen

Twelve Owls

A gorgeous guide to the owls native to Minnesota, with descriptions and portraits by two of the state’s most beloved authors

The owls of Minnesota have found the perfect spokeswoman in this book, which is as charming as it is informative. Written with wit and a remarkable command of bird lore by Laura Erickson, well known to public radio listeners and birdwatchers everywhere, Twelve Owls also features enchanting pictures, from the long view to up-close detail, by award-winning artist Betsy Bowen.

Both young readers and adults would enjoy Twelve Owls and even advanced birders are likely to find themselves quite often saying, ‘I didn’t know that.’ It would make a great gift for anyone interested in birds, especially owls.

Chirps, Chequamegon Bird Club

Meet the saw-whet, the tiniest of Minnesota’s owls, a mere eight inches from the tip of its blunt tail to the top of its rounded head. The simplest way to find one is to listen for the scolding calls of a flock of agitated chickadees. Or, if you’re lucky, you might witness the male throwing all caution to the wind and “co-co-co-co-ing” for a mate, inching forward on every note like the bird in a cuckoo clock.

From this fetching little creature to the magnificent great gray, the owls of Minnesota have found the perfect spokeswoman in this book, which is as charming as it is informative. Written with wit and a remarkable command of bird lore by Laura Erickson, well known to public radio listeners and birdwatchers everywhere, Twelve Owls also features enchanting pictures, from the long view to up-close detail, by award-winning artist Betsy Bowen.

“Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?” the barred owl asks, breaking into a duet that sounds like maniacal laughter when he gets lucky. The great gray, the biggest of the state’s—and perhaps the world’s—owls, hurls herself into the snow and fetches up a meadow vole, leaving behind a beautiful snow angel.

The telling detail, the natural drama, the identifying features, and the environmental story all unfold in Erickson’s engaging account of what to look for, where to look, and what these much-mythologized but very real denizens of the bird kingdom might be doing in the state of Minnesota.

Awards

Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards - Honorable Mention in General Nonfiction

Twelve Owls

Laura Erickson has spent the past thirty-five years writing and speaking about birds and promoting their conservation. Since 1986, she has produced a daily radio spot and iTunes podcast, “For the Birds,” which airs on community and public radio stations from Powell, Wyoming, to Jamestown, New York. She was science editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is a regular contributor to Journey North, the Webby Award–winning educational website about migration. She is the author of four previous books about birds, including Sharing the Wonder of Birds with Kids, which received the National Outdoor Book Award.

Betsy Bowen is a woodcut printmaker and painter who has illustrated several books, among them Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman and Big Belching Bog, both available from the University of Minnesota Press. She lives in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Twelve Owls

Both young readers and adults would enjoy Twelve Owls and even advanced birders are likely to find themselves quite often saying, ‘I didn’t know that.’ It would make a great gift for anyone interested in birds, especially owls.

Chirps, Chequamegon Bird Club

Richly illustrated by renowned woodcut artist and painter Betsy Bowen, it brims with lively and erudite vignettes that will enhance your ability to find and appreciate our native owls, and indeed all birds, no matter your level of experience.

Zumbro Valley Audubon Society

If you are interested in owls or a fan of Laura Erickson or Betsy Bowen’s work, this is one to check out.

Trumpeter, The Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter

The text reads like the secret lives of owls while the images, painted to ‘actual size,’ give a sense of the large and small of these raptors.

Lake Superior Magazine

Award-winning artist Betsy Bowen provides the illustrations, giving Erickson’s birds soulful, attention-grabbing, penetrating eyes.

BirdWatching Magazine

Twelve Owls is a truly lovely book that offers something for young and old alike.

Duluth News-Tribune

Young readers will appreciate the vibrant illustrations, and older readers--and adults--will learn a great deal about the complex world of owls.

Flyoverland

A gift-worthy field guide.

Star Tribune

Twelve Owls is meant for people who want to know more about owls in Minnesota, from beginners to the more advanced bird watcher.

Clay Christensen, St. Anthony Park Bugle

Coupled with the lyrical woodcut prints of esteemed Grand Marais artist Betsy Bowen, Erickson manages to take even casual bird watchers deep into the far reaches of the spirit of the owls.

The Pine Journal

Twelve Owls is a beautiful new book that introduces all twelve species of owls that can be found in Minnesota.

The Ely Winter Times

Owl enthusiasts and the casual reader alike will be charmed by the engaging writing style, which perfectly balances information with story, and charmed by its striking images.

The TImberjay

The artwork, from cover throughout, could be deceiving, tagging this book as a "picture book" meant for young readers. Hardly. The beautiful illustrations compliment the highly informative text.

Jim Williams, Star Tribune Wing Nut blog

Twelve Owls

Contents

Artist’s Note
Introduction

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Eastern Screech-Owl
Burrowing Owl
Boreal Owl
Barn Owl
Short-eared Owl
Long-eared Owl
Northern Hawk Owl
Barred Owl
Great Horned Owl
Snowy Owl
Great Gray Owl