Silent Flight

Jet Eliot

Great Horned Owl, California Great Horned Owl, California

More than once I have stood in a forest opening tentatively listening to the “who-who-whoooo” of a Great Horned Owl.  Then it would disappear in utter silence.  This is one of the many marvels of an owl.

This huge raptor, over 20 inches (50 cm) long and the second heaviest bird in North America, is built to fly soundlessly.  Even with an expansive wingspan of 3 to 5 feet (91-153 cm) there is no whoosh.

The specialized feathers of an owl’s wing are designed with numerous features to prevent it from detection.  A series of comb-like hooks on the wing feathers break the flowing air currents into micro-turbulences, then a flexible fringe breaks up the air more.  Under that are velvety down feathers that further absorb sound.  In addition, the broad wing surface allows for less flapping.

It is always thrilling to hear an owl hooting…

View original post 14 more words


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: