Review: Owls of the World

I started digging into owl books looking for information on how Burrowing Owls survive the winter. I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

Owls of the World a Photographic Guide
by Heimo Mikkola
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Firefly Books
ISBN-10: 1770852743
ISBN-13: 978-1770852747
Oboler Library: QL 696 .S8 M555 2012

Gorgeous full color book full of information about owls across the globe. I like this book for the photos, the information about identification and basic info on how the owls live it is a wonderful overview of the species. This book is comprehensive in scope of coverage

“…gave valid reasons to reject two poorly defined small-island ‘species’. In addition, four totally new species are included and three that are considered to be extinct are excluded, so the total number of species treated is 249.” – page 72

The Table of Contents:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • What Makes an Owl
  • The Nature of Owls
  • Evolution of Owls
  • Distribution and Biogeography
  • Taxonomy and DNA-Sequencing
  • Owls and Humans
  • Conservation
  • Extinct Owls
  • ‘Owlaholics’
  • Owl Associations and Global Research Organizations
  • Species Accounts
    (A chapter describing the parts and pieces of the upcoming species accounts. Includes topography of an owl, abbreviations, legend to the maps and a glossary – Jenny)
  • The Species Accounts
    (The actual descriptions of the 240 some owls – Jenny)
  • Further Reading
  • Photographic Credits
  • Index
    (Index includes both scientific and common names – Jenny)

In the Species Accounts, which make up the bulk of the book, each owl is described with the following subheadings standardized across the accounts: Identification, Call, Food and Hunting, Habitat, Status and Distribution, Geographical Variation, and Similar Species. There are many full color photos and accurate range maps also included in the Species Accounts.

The entry on the Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) on page 416 is interesting with an explanation of the different races and their coloring variations but no discussion of how it survives the winter. Guess I’ll have to go check out another owl book. – Jenny

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