Asking the Experts: Wildlife Center Staff Featured in Best-Selling Author's Latest Publication

In her latest release, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ackerman explores recent findings on the biology, behavior, and conservation of owls in What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds. A science and nature writer of nearly 30 years, Wildlife Center supporters may be familiar with some of her previous works, including The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think, which was selected for the Center’s Wildlife Book Club during 2022.

What an Owl Knows features conversations with renowned wildlife scientists, researchers, and professionals that are experts in their fields – including several staff members from the Wildlife Center of Virginia! During 2021, Ackerman visited the Wildlife Center to learn about a variety of owl-related topics with Senior Vice President Amanda Nicholson and Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Karra Pierce: the treatment and rehabilitation of wild owl patients, common circumstances of injury they face in the wild, and the nuances of interpreting owl behavior.

Several education ambassador owls from the Center are featured, too – Papa G’Ho, a former Great Horned Owl surrogate parent who reared 53 young owlets over 21 years at the Center, and Athena, a Barred Owl who’s participated in hundreds of online and in-person presentations during the past decade.

“Our conversation with Jennifer was definitely a highlight for me,” shares Nicholson. “I talk about how I have learned to adapt training techniques – and communication – with Athena over the years. The experiences that I have with the education birds at the Center have definitely taught me a lot about observation and communication, and I’m so glad that Athena and I were able to be a part of this book.”

Center supporters, wildlife enthusiasts, and nature lovers won’t want to miss this book! What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds can be purchased where ever books are sold. A limited number of copies are available through the Wildlife Center’s shop. Don’t delay — What and Owl Knows will be featured as the selected reading for the Center’s Wildlife Book Club meeting during August 2023!

Readers also have the chance to see Ackerman on tour in Charlottesville on June 23 at the Irving Theater. For more information, visit Ackerman’s page on Penguin Random House’s website.