Video: Owl in Flight

Candice Gaukel Andrews October 13, 2011 16

Silent predators of the night, owls are capable of flying just inches from their prey without being detected. The quietness of their wings is due to their specialized feathers.

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. And we humans have been borrowing behaviors from and re-creating the physical characteristics of animals to solve some of our thorniest problems since before recorded history. We know, for instance, that our earliest ancestors learned valuable hunting tips by imitating nonhuman predators.

Today, we call this process biomimicry. And one of the creatures currently being studied is the owl. Aeronautics designers seeking to lessen an airplane’s noise level are looking at the bird’s feathers for potential applications.

Owls have the ability for silent flight because of several adaptations: serrated feathers on the leading edge of an owl’s wings allow air to pass through them, eliminating sound; tattered feathers on the back end of the wings help to break up sound waves; and legs covered in velvety, down feathers work to absorb any additional noise.

Watch this video from of an owl coming toward the camera at 1,000 frames per second. If only our air travels could go so smoothly!

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,



  1. Valli Sanstrom October 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this amazing footage. I think I’ll make an owl costumn for Halloween or just because.

  2. Velma October 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    amazing….truly amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Catherine October 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Wow! That was amazing. What a fascinating creature.

  4. Reggie October 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Awesome video!

  5. John Howard Gaukel October 15, 2011 at 6:24 am - Reply

    A perfect example of what Mother Nature can teach us if only we would take the time to observe and also protect her.

  6. Travis October 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Wow, I did not know they had legs that long. I knew about the talons, just not those crazy-long French Stewart legs.

  7. Linda (Lyn) October 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    That is truly amazing to see in slow motion! Thank you for sharing.

  8. Bobbie October 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Very cool, Candice. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Anita October 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Talk about stealth! These guys have got the goods! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Casey Bieker October 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Whoa, that is pretty wild. I did not realize they had talons like that either, some pretty serious snapper uppers.

  11. Christina October 14, 2011 at 6:38 am - Reply

    Thanks, I enjoyed this post!

  12. Paula October 14, 2011 at 6:37 am - Reply

    My daughter and I have seen this recording before and we love to see it again, again and again. It is awesome how the owls preforms ballet and gymnastics in one. The soft down on the inside of its wings silences any noise. And the focus of his eyes is wonderful. Beautifully recorded. It is a pleasure to see this over and over….

  13. Traveling Ted October 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Wow, that is really cool. Thanks!

  14. Bonnie Jean October 13, 2011 at 11:59 am - Reply

    yes, seen that one before and it is always spectacular. What an exquisite creature.

  15. Deborah Carr October 13, 2011 at 5:43 am - Reply

    This is mesmerizing! What an incredible shot of a simply amazing creature. Thank you for giving us this glimpse of perfection.

  16. Nancy Mueller October 13, 2011 at 6:10 am - Reply

    Wow! Beautiful, Candace. Thanks for sharing ~

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