Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl

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The Fish Owl is aptly named, it is one of those rare and endangered avians that feeds primarily on fish or even amphibians when the salmon are unavailable. Jonathan Salght engagingly relates his relationship with this giant bird infrequently found in the forests of eastern Russia adjoining the Sea of Japan, first as a Ph.D. study for his graduate work and then as a conservationist seeking to ensure the survival of this species. Describing the search for this bird by tracking in freezing snowbound forests, sloshing through iced and thawing rivers, freezing in tents while watching for the birds, seeking evidence of the bird’s presence under harrowing conditions, listening for the inimitable call of the birds, and continually learning from innumerable mistakes; this irrepressible student slowly fine-tunes the investigative procedures. Narrated as a scientific exploit, filled with descriptions of the primitive wilderness, feasting on meals of frozen boar or deer meat from animals hunted in the environs, overwhelmed by the ritual vodka toasting, and cleansed within the steaming banyas. Amidst the scientific details, the story is enhanced by the anecdotal descriptions of the Russian associates encountered during these studies, these stories add a Chekhovian flavor to the field reports. This is a remarkable read that tells many intriguing stories, about the fish owls in the wilderness, endangered species, research methodology, cultural differences, conservation, disappearing forests, and about quirky human behavior along with the trial and error process of learning.


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Author Jonathan C. Slaught
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 368 pages
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date 2020-Aug-04
ISBN 9780374228484
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2020
Category Science & Nature
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