Program – What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic

Date & Time

Tuesday, January 16, 2024
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Fleischmann Auditorium,
Santa Barbara Museum Of Natural History
2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA5

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.

This multimedia presentation will highlight what we have learned lately about the nature of the world’s most enigmatic birds. With remarkable photos, videos, and audio recordings, Ackerman will explore the rich biology and natural history of owls and describe remarkable new scientific discoveries about their brains and behavior.

Jennifer Ackerman is an award-winning science writer and speaker, and author of the New York Times bestselling books, The Bird Way, The Genius of Birds, and her latest What an Owl Knows. A bird lover since she was a child, Jennifer has been writing about nature and science for more than three decades.

Her books include The Bird Way (2020), which won the 2021 Whitley Book Award and was a finalist for the 2021 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. The book was named a Best Science Book of 2020 by National Public Radio’s “Science Friday” and a Nature Book of the Year by the London Sunday Times.      

The Genius of Birds, published in 2016, was a finalist for the 2017 National Academies Communication Book Award and was long-listed for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. The book was named one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2016 by the Wall Street Journal, and a Best Science Book of 2016 by “Science Friday.” 

Jennifer’s other books include Birds by the Shore, Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity, and Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body. Her articles and essays have appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times, Scientific American, and many other publications.

Jennifer gives highly popular illustrated talks and has presented at hundreds of literary and nature festivals and other venues around the world, including the National Book Festival, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the Vancouver International Bird Festival.

Courtesy of Chaucer’s, books by the author will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

Presented by 

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santa Barbara audubon society

pgm 2024-01-16 Author

Many thanks to the Simpson House Inn for generously providing accommodations for our speaker.