Review of The Snowy Owl Scientist

The Snowy Owl Scientist The Snowy Owl Scientist [Scientists in the Field]
by Mark Wilson; photos by the author
Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion/HarperCollins    96 pp.    g
4/22    978-0-358-32959-6    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-358-32660-1    $9.99

The magnificent snowy owl has only one U.S. nesting location: Ukpeagvik, on Alaska’s North Shore. Readers travel vicariously to the town of Utqiagvik (previously Barrow) where they meet senior owl researcher Denver Holt, who has been studying these nesting grounds every summer since the early 1990s. In a designated hundred-square-mile area of the tundra, he makes numerous scheduled trips to count the nests; band chicks; collect data on lemmings, the staple of this creature’s diet (ascertained by dissecting thirty-five thousand owl pellets); analyze nest rims for other sources of food; and study the feather markings of both males and females. Readers not only glimpse the difficulties of working in such challenging conditions, including driving or walking through the spongy tundra or meticulously protecting the nests while studying them and warding off aggressive birds of prey, but they also see how Holt uses the data to form conclusions or prompt further study. Wilson, a prolific wildlife photographer, explains his procedures for photographing these birds in their natural habitat and shares his final products in clear, informative, and often dramatic images. Appended with a glossary, a bibliography, and an index (unseen).

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Betty Carter
Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

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