Flight of the Barn Owl: A Study In Aerodynamics
What makes owls such wonderful predators? Most people think it is their eyesight, but their wing design has a great deal to do with it as well.
Owls are able to fly in a hushed and almost eerie silence, swooping down on their prey noiselessly. They are able to do this from relatively great heights, thanks to their aerodynamically designed wings and feathers. Barn Owl Boxes, a company that makes custom, quality barn own nesting boxes, shares some information about the owl’s wing design so that you can better understand how these fascinating creatures have become such successful hunters.
- Broad wings equals less flapping. Less flapping equals less noise, and barn owls rarely have to flap their wings because they are so broad. These broad wings allow owls all but hover over an area with very little expenditure of energy, saving up their strength for the dive and kill.
- Tattered feather fringe reduces noise. The tattered or serrated edges of an owl’s wing feathers also play a role in reducing noise. Because air can travel through the edges of the owl’s feather so effortlessly, the owl is able to break normal air turbulence into micro-turbulence events and muffle the sound produced by the owl’s flight.
- Downy feathers absorb sound. The downy feathers located on the underside of the wings trap sound as well and cushion the flow of air so that owls can stay aloft for a great deal of time.
When a barn owl hunts rodents or other prey, the owl usually flies silently overhead. Because barn owls hunt at night, they do not have to worry about shadows alerting their prey. They may also hunt alone, reducing the chance that prey will sense more than one owl in the area. Barn owl mates often carry food back to the nest after successfully hunting.
The barn owl swoops down suddenly and can often come within inches of a target before the prey realizes that it is in any danger. It is no wonder, with such silent and deadly hunting capability, that the barn owl manages to take thousands of rodents per season!
Barn Owl Boxes is ready to build a barn owl box for you so that you can also enjoy the wonder and majesty of this incredible bird. With many styles to choose from, families can enjoy the beauty of nature as well as a built-in rodent and pest control system!
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