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

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

A field scientist and conservationist tracks the elusive Blakiston's Fish Owl in the forbidding reaches of eastern Russia.

I saw my first Blakiston’s fish owl in the Russian province of Primorye, a coastal talon of land hooking south into the belly of Northeast Asia . . . No scientist had seen a Blakiston’s fish owl so far south in a hundred years . . .

When he was just a fledgling birdwatcher, Jonathan C. Slaght had a chance encounter with one of the most mysterious birds on Earth. Bigger than any owl he knew, it looked like a small bear with decorative feathers. He snapped a quick photo and shared it with experts. Soon he was on a five-year journey, searching for this enormous, enigmatic creature in the lush, remote forests of eastern Russia. That first sighting set his calling as a scientist.

Despite a wingspan of six feet and a height of over two feet, the Blakiston’s fish owl is highly elusive. They are easiest to find in winter, when their tracks mark the snowy banks of the rivers where they feed. They are also endangered. And so, as Slaght and his devoted team set out to locate the owls, they aim to craft a conservation plan that helps ensure the species’ survival. This quest sends them on all-night monitoring missions in freezing tents, mad dashes across thawing rivers, and free-climbs up rotting trees to check nests for precious eggs. They use cutting-edge tracking technology and improvise ingenious traps. And all along, they must keep watch against a run-in with a bear or an Amur tiger. At the heart of Slaght’s story are the fish owls themselves: cunning hunters, devoted parents, singers of eerie duets, and survivors in a harsh and shrinking habitat.

Through this rare glimpse into the everyday life of a field scientist and conservationist, Owls of the Eastern Ice testifies to the determination and creativity essential to scientific advancement and serves as a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.

Title:Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780374228484
Format Type:

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

  • Diane S ?

    Eastern Russia and the search for the world's largest owl. Fish owls can be anywhere from two to two in a half feet tall, weighing up to right pounds, talons the size of a human hand. Of course I had ...

  • Nigel

    In brief - If remote places and rare wildlife interest you then it's worth a look at this well written book. 4.5/5In fullThis fascinating book starts with an introduction to the author’s interest in...

  • L.G. Cullens

    Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan C. SlaghtHaving previously read The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant, with this book I've returned in my reading to Primorye, Russia. ...

  • Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    Check out my review on Booktube!...

  • Orsolya

    Owls are considered one of the most elusive and magical members of the bird family. These feathered (large) fairies are extremely intelligent, beautifully outfitted with plumage and are remarkable hun...

  • Mary

    Amazing book combines adventure, habitat preservation, nature, and a look at academic life. When I saw the cover, I knew I wanted to read this book. Although I am extremely frightened by birds, I am d...

  • Jenia

    Oh man, this book worked *so* well for me! The nature - the owls, the wilderness, the Siberian winter - is so relaxing and just.. pleasant to listen to. But what makes the book really click for me are...

  • Kristiana

    I have always thought owls are beautiful and mysterious creatures. I own two intricate wood carvings and a set of three who nest on my mantelpiece. Slaght’s work, however, taught me to look beyond t...

  • Scot

    A truly fantastic account of a young conservation scientist's quest to understand and protect the world's largest owl in the wilds of eastern Russia. The journey follows Dr. Jonathan Slaght over his 5...

  • Ben Goldfarb

    Read a galley; here's my blurb: "Owls of the Eastern Ice is a thrilling, high-spirited adventure that beautifully evokes Russia's far east and the strange, hardy beings, both human and wild, who inhab...