The Secret Life of the Owl

The Secret Life of the Owl

a beautifully illustrated and lyrical celebration of this mythical creature from bestselling and prize-winning author John Lewis-Stempel


The perfect gift for nature lovers - The Book of the Owl is a beautifully illustrated small format hardback exploring the legend and history of the owl. A true celebration of this magnificent creature - its natural powers and its mythical glory. Fans of Stephen Moss and Fiona Stafford will not be disappointed.

'In this short, beautiful little book, the farmer and nature writer introduces us to the wisdom of owls.. every question you might ask ... is answered with economy and insight and the cultural references and quotations are as rich as you would expect from this brilliant writer.' -- Daily Mail

'John Lewis-Stempel is one of the best nature writers of his generation' -- Country Li

'One of our finest nature writers with an essay length portrait of a bird that has fascinated humans for millennia.' -- Mail on Sunday

'An absolute pleasure to read' -- ***** Reader review

'Hypnotic reading' -- ***** Reader review
'Absolutely fascinating' -- ***** Reader review
'Hard to put down once opened, it is finished all too quickly' -- ***** Reader review
'Dusk is filling the valley. It is the time of the gloaming, the owl-light.
Out in the wood, the resident tawny has started calling, Hoo-hoo-hoo-h-o-o-o.'

There is something about owls. They feature in every major culture from the Stone Age onwards. They are creatures of the night, and thus of magic. They are the birds of ill-tidings, the avian messengers from the Other Side.
But owls - with the sapient flatness of their faces, their big, round eyes, their paternal expressions - are also reassuringly familiar. We see them as wise, like Athena's owl, and loyal, like Harry Potter's Hedwig. Human-like, in other words.

No other species has so captivated us.


  • A charming essay...packed with facts and literary asides...Lewis-Stempel has a wonderful way with words...he also packs the book with the singing, ringing words of others.
    Robbie Millen, The Times

About the author

John Lewis-Stempel

John Lewis-Stempel is a farmer and 'Britain's finest living nature writer' (The Times). His books include the Sunday Times bestsellers Woodston, The Running Hare and The Wood. He is the only person to have won the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing twice, with Meadowland and Where Poppies Blow. In 2016 he was named Magazine Columnist of the Year for his column in Country Life. He farms cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. Traditionally.
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