Saturday, August 29, 2009

Video is on YouTube!!! YAY!

HI ALL! FINALLY the video is on youtube! It's not a documentary or that kind of thing, it's just a short video of me talking about Wesley with some footage of me and Wesley cuddling and just hanging out with each other.

Here's the link:

Now, be warned. When I got sick I gained weight and because of my illness I am still overweight, so I no longer look like that 95 pound kid you see in the book. But I'm alive and that's a wonderful thing.

To me, the most important thing about this video is that it shows Wesley cuddling with me. I'm not sure, but this MIGHT be the only such footage in the public realm of an owl cuddling! Why? There's a horrendous myth out there, believed by zookeepers, animal trainers, biologists, rehabbers - pretty much EVERYONE who works with owls, and it's that "Owls hate to be touched. They do not want affection! Do NOT be affectionate with an owl!"

I've seen "experts" tout this belief on TV as recently as a few weeks ago and it BREAKS MY HEART! The result of this belief is that people who work with owls are told this by people they respect, so they believe it, so they never offer ANY affection to a captive owl, who is then starved for affection. And they wonder why the owl is so feisty, upset, nervous, and won't calm down.

In the wild, owls spend hours and hours cuddling w/ their mate each day, as well as allopreening (preening each others' feathers, which is like getting a massage almost). When they have babies, the cuddling is even more intense. They NEED cuddling for psychological reasons but also physiologically, because it releases endorphins which prevent depression, and yes, owls get depressed.

So, because of this belief in their not wanting any affection, owls are in a sense being mistreated in captivity, albeit not deliberately, by people who would never knowingly mistreat an animal.

Owls are not humans, but imagine raising a human with no touch or affection at all. The human develops 'attachment disorder' which means they cannot bond normally to others and they can't stand to be held and touched, among other things. Some babies will die if never touched/cuddled. Well, owls are very similar to us in that regard.

So this video is SO IMPORTANT TO ME because it SHOWS that a barn owl loves affection, and both gives and receives it. It SHOWS that the owl craves the affection and can be very relaxed and intimate w/ the keeper. We're talking about owls who are unreleasable here. A releasable owl you would never want to interact with as a human because you are trying to get it ready to survive in the wild, so you don't want it imprinting on humans.

But there are a LOT of unreleasable owls in captivity whose lives would be radically improved if people understood that the owls WANT and CRAVE affection!

So please help me get the word out and get this video out so that we can smash that myth for once and for all!

Thank you all so much for your support, your kind words, and for your love for all creatures - even the wild souls among us!


PS: I'm looking into putting mp3s of Wesley's vocalizations up for people to hear...


jbrown said...

Stacey..Thank you for the you tube video..It was amazing.You truly are an exceptional human being..Sending Blessings Of Love..Jan

Ellie Dworak said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing that lovely footage of Wesley and you.

Pondoria said...

Just can't get enough of Wesley!!! I just finished reading the book for the second time, left a review (5 stars of course) on amazon, found this video, found this blog, still can't get enough. Stacey, you are an amazing person and I salute you. If I were an owl, I would want you to be my human.

Lady Jedi said...

Hi Stacy!!!I'm Morgana(Brasil)
I send several e-mails for you!!
Eu mandei vários e-maisl para você,mas não respondeu mais...
É a Morgana do Brasil que também tem uma coruja...

Tosh said...

Thank you Stacey and Wesley! Again, truly a Testament to your life and his!! I hope there will be more video and photo albums in the future. Bless you and keep the faith. Wesley did

Mary said...

Stacey, I loved watching that video and also the video of your sharing how you wrote the book. Little Wesley was such a little cuddlebug! This is amazing and will help rescuers in the future to provide an essential element to the lives of their now captive barn owls. You are a beautiful lady, I give you so much credit for what you have accomplished. Your book was so well written, and I couldn't wait to get from one page, one chapter to the next, though I knew I'd regret getting to the end. I can't wait to hear the MP3's.
There are other nice videos of barn owls on youtube, one is called I'm Your Valentine. And there are some of baby and grown barn owls hissing.

eclechick said...

I live in NJ and was in a book store in Philadelphia yesterday when I saw your book. I was not familiar with your story but I love owls so I bought the book. I began reading it last night and finished it this morning. Thank you so much for this beautiful, touching tribute to Wesley. You are an amazing and enduring woman!
Be well,

Nathalie said...

Stacey, those pics are priceless...

They are the first images that should pop up when the word HAPPINESS is "googled"!!! :)

Although I had strongly recommended your book, it was the viewing of your video that finally convinced my friend to add Wesley the Owl to her "must read" book list. Thanks for sharing the link!

Any news on a french version of your book yet? I got three people interested already!

Warmest wishes

Jenn said...

I hope you make it to NYC for a book signing and talk. I would love to meet you! BTW, the video is great!

Aris said...

Thank you.

Karen said...

Oh Stacey, I just finished the book and am so grateful for your sensitivity AND scientific observations - a perfect combination and one which helped Wesley have the best companion and helper ever. Please do put up the vocalizations when you can; they will be fascinating to hear!! The video is precious, as well. God bless you in your journey. You have taught us from your experiences. You wrote beautifully and the book is perfect. Thank you for all you did for Wesley and for sharing it with us.

Bock, David E Bock said...


I just finished Wesley. I'm at a loss. Your book moved me. Went to my computer, and found the video & blog.

Thank you for sharing your story.