Rice’s Owls is a photographical account of the nesting season of a pair of great horned owls who built their nest on the campus of Rice University in Texas, raising a pair of nestlings to adulthood.
Since Rice’s mascot is also the owl, the book covers the history of the university mascot as well, and contains many images and depictions of owls on the campus as well as the live birds.
Photographer Robert Flatt ties together narrative of the birds’ lives, facts about owls, Rice, and their connection, and visually stunning photographs to create a beautiful and thoughtful book.
The pictures are gorgeous – it must have taken hours upon hours of patient watching to get so many views of the owls going about their daily life. There are adorable pictures of fuzzy baby owls, dramatic footage of their parents (and themselves later on) in full flight and elegant perched poses, and even one picture of the father facing off against a squirrel poised to flee for its life. The pictures capture not only the external beauty of the birds, but also a sense of personality and individuality that cannot help but charm. Careful use of light and shadow heighten the drama, and the colors are spectacular. The narration is relevant, interesting, and readable, and blends fact and folklore with information about the owls’ daily lives gleaned by patient observation.
The book could use a bit of editing for grammar – there were occasional mistakes, including some places where names of birds were capitalized when they should not have been. However, these are minor errors, and do not detract much from the book at all.
This book is a lovely work of art, full of the beauty of nature and of a well-designed college campus.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader