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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Cheryl Aguiar loves animals of all kinds, domestic and wild. As a child, she marvelled at the wildlife around her and did all she could to rescue orphaned and injured creatures. She even saved a tree frog when the lawnmower accidentally ran it over, severing two of its legs, half its upper lip and injuring one eye. The tree frog recovered and lived with Cheryl for four years. During the winter of 2016, a Great Horned Owl family built their nest in the woods just outside Cheryl’s home. Fascinated, she watched as Mama Owl kept the eggs warm, then tended the newly hatched owlets. After a severe windstorm, Cheryl came home to discover the owl’s nest destroyed and the tiny owlets huddling on the ground. She knew that it wasn’t safe for them. With the help of family and neighbors, and some advice from a local owl rescue organization, she and her husband built a wicker basket nest, secured it to the same tree where the original nest had been, and carefully helped the family re-establish their little home in the new nest.
Cheryl’s story and photos follow the maturing of these two owlets, whom she called Wisdom and Willow. Through their story, Cheryl and her readers learn a lot about the Great Horned Owl: how they mate, build nests (not very well, it appears), care for and train their young, and hunt. Cheryl, her family and friends were able to trace the owlets’ lives until they became adults and returned to the home that Cheryl had helped them preserve. The owlets, now fully grown owls, felt safe in Cheryl’s woods. It’s where she rescued them from certain death. Cheryl shares her story and her photos in her recent book, Great Horned Owlets Rescue. It’s a story told with tender compassion and a sense of awe. The author’s passion for her rescued owlets, and for all of the animal kingdom, is apparent through the story. A wonderful story.