Owls inspire life reflection in local author

Book Nook - Kelsey Hawley.png
We are part of The Trust Project.

"My Life as an Owlet" and "An Owl's Life Realized" by Gregory Gilman; self-published in January and March 2022

"My Life as an Owlet" by Gregory Gilman
contributed / Gregory Gilman

Inspired by the nesting pair of great horned owls in Northwest Rochester last spring, Gregory Gilman, of Rochester, wrote a set of books. These short works are told from the perspective of the owls’ growing owlet – from egg to adult.

“Interest in this owl roost just got to be feverish in Rochester,” said Gilman of the popularity of the owl’s nest. He and his eldest daughter went out one evening to visit the nest and take photos. The photos they took that night were then put on their home computer as a slide show and it was sometime later that the photos inspired the idea to use a growing owlet as the narrative in the first book.

“A number of metaphors came into my mind about how I might be able to communicate some of the things I’ve wanted to say and express through this family of owls,” Gilman said of the owl family which inspired his writings. “It became a vehicle for me to not only express things that I wanted to get out there, to share with others but also to grow in relationships with my family.”

Book Two Cover.JPG
"An Owl's Life Realized" by Gregory Gilman
contributed / Gregory Gilman

The books “My Life as an Owlet” and “An Owl’s Life Realized,” told in first person perspective, are less about owls and more about reflecting on the human experience.

“I obviously exploited the experience of the owls to express feelings of what it was like growing up, the feeling of family and closeness, some competitiveness, of belonging, the challenges of change,” said Gilman.


The books also contain some of the photos that Gilman and his daughter took that night as well as other nature photos taken by Gilman at other times and locations.

Gilman doesn’t view these books as a new career for him but a hobby. As a medical professional, first as a nurse and diagnostic cardiac sonographer and now a cardiovascular clinical analyst, Gilman has always enjoyed writing and has contributed to numerous scientific papers. But these books are for the enjoyment of his family and others.

“It also is like music for me. It’s not the performing of the song, it’s not the publishing of the book, it’s the journey,” he said. “My intention was to dwell more on the positive – and express an ideal, and maybe inspire a young mother or father as they read to their child or read this book,” he said.

Gregory Gilman
contributed / Gregory Gilman

Gilman has donated copies of the first book to the Ronald McDonald House, Mayo Clinic Pediatrics and the Rochester Public Library.

“This time in my life, I decided to invest in this. My reward is people’s satisfaction and maybe inspiration,” he said.

These books are also available online through Amazon and

Gregory Gilman is a lifelong learner. His professional career has focused on cardiovascular disease through diagnostic imaging, research and medical informatics. He lives in Rochester with his wonderfully supportive wife of 21 years and two daughters who inspire and encourage him.

Also Read
A list of local nonprofits' needs and wishes for the upcoming holiday season.
The newest book by Jess Lourey, "The Quarry Girls," is a phenomenal read.
Family heritage and history are showcased in two different books in two very different ways.

Book Nook is a feature that highlights books from Minnesota authors. Got a recommendation? Email us at with the subject line "Book Nook."

Related Topics: BOOKS
Kelsey Hawley is a Jill-of-all-trades and as newsroom clerk, supports many facets of the office. She grew up in Rochester, where she continues to make her home with her two daughters, a few fish, a snail and a hamster. Readers can reach Kelsey at 507-285-7734 or
What to read next
After a two-year hiatus, the CP Holiday Train has returned, traveling across the upper Midwest and Canada, spreading holiday joy and collecting money and food for local food banks.
Northern Lights Festival announced Wednesday night it's closing down early.
The public is invited to sing along to their favorite carols at the free concert hosted by The Landing MN Saturday, Dec. 10, at Hope Summit Christian Church.
A poem by local writer.