For millennia, owls have captivated and intrigued us. Our fascination with these mysterious birds was first documented more than 30,000 years ago in the Chauvet Cave paintings in southern France. With their forward gaze and quiet flight, owls are often a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and foresight. But what does an owl really know? And what do we really know about owls? Scientists have only recently begun to understand in deep detail the complex nature of these extraordinary birds. Some 260 species of owls exist today, and they reside on every continent except Antarctica, but they are far more difficult to find and study than other birds because they are cryptic, camouflaged, and mostly active in the dark of night. Join Jennifer Ackerman, bestselling author of What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds, in a multimedia presentation on what we have learned lately about the nature of the world’s most enigmatic birds. With remarkable photos, videos, and audio recordings, Ackerman explores the rich biology and natural history of owls and examines remarkable new scientific discoveries about their brains and behavior.
The Q&A portion of this program will be recorded for the Athenæum’s archives.
--Jennifer Ackerman is an award-winning science writer and speaker, and author of several New York Times bestselling books about birds, including What an Owl Knows, The Bird Way, and The Genius of Birds. She has been a bird lover since childhood and has been writing about nature and science for more than three decades. Her most recent book, What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds (Penguin Press, June 2023), was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2023 and has been described in reviews as “eloquent and engaging”, “revelatory”, a “fascinating read”, “a masterful survey”, and an “enchanting guide.”