The life of a man and his feathered friend.
Though owls are not common pets, Osprey Publishing military editor Windrow (Our Friends Beneath the Sands, 2012, etc.) developed a 15-year friendship with a tawny owl that lived in his apartment. Needing a companion after a sky diving accident, the author first tried a little owl; however, this bird escaped, so he tried a tawny owl. Right from the start, Mumble, as Windrow called his female tawny, proved to be the perfect friend. Using notes and photographs from their time together, the author intertwines anecdotes of living in a small apartment with a bird the size of a loaf of bread with the evolution, zoology and social life of owls, providing readers with lots of information not normally found outside of bird identification books. One favorite experience Windrow remembers fondly is how Mumble loved to snuggle into his neck after his shower. “Her head and neck smelt delicious—clean, warm, wooly, and sort of…biscuit,” he writes. “If I stopped nuzzling her for even a moment she squeaked insistently, shoving her face upwards. She loved it when I rubbed the close triangle of short feathers immediately above her beak and between her eyes.” Due to his desire for this friendship, Windrow was willing to cover the apartment with plastic and newspapers for the inevitable “strongly acidic, foul-smelling brown-and-white sludge” and provide whole baby chicks for Mumble’s food, which she tore at with great pleasure—such eccentricities made the author’s friends question his sensibilities. Rich in minutiae enveloped by a sense of fondness for this affectionate bird, Windrow’s tale is unusual and endearing and takes the idea of an animal/human friendship to new heights.
Delightful and informative reminiscences of one man’s life with his pet owl.