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Barn Owls

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Old Monday 9th August 2004, 22:47   #1
Krispo
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Question Barn Owls

Hi All!

Why are Barn Owls so quiete in flight?

Thanks

Kajrowe
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Old Monday 9th August 2004, 23:15   #2
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Other types of birds have clean edges to their flight feathers. Owls have soft 'feathery' edges to their flight feathers. This is one of the many special adaptions the Barn Owl has evolved to make it a supreme predator.


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Old Monday 9th August 2004, 23:34   #3
ed78user
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Barn Owls - Flight height?

I'm wondering what it was I saw last night (Sunday) at around 23:00 local?

Whilst sitting outside eating pizza on the patio with my wife we both were suddenly aware of a white bird flying at c.100 ft with a slightly wavering flight. It was lit up by the sodium lighting of the local hotel.

I live on the edge of a small hamlet near to a main road. Surely not a gull at this time? I thought it may of been a Barn Owl transiting our airspace?

I've never seen one more than about 15-20 ft above the ground though.

Ant
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Old Tuesday 10th August 2004, 00:14   #4
Beverlybaynes
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Ant, a Barn Owl would certainly be a possibility!

That feathering on the leading feather edges, as Gary mentioned, is true of all owls.
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Old Tuesday 10th August 2004, 08:25   #5
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owls have the comb on the leading feathers for a couple of reasons, one being the most obvious, that in order to carry out a suprise attack on prey it has to get in close without being heard but also the owls use their ears to pinpoint the location of the prey. So the silent flight helps the owl to use it's ears to the maximum.
hope this helps
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Old Tuesday 10th August 2004, 09:23   #6
Edward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed78user
I'm wondering what it was I saw last night (Sunday) at around 23:00 local?

Whilst sitting outside eating pizza on the patio with my wife we both were suddenly aware of a white bird flying at c.100 ft with a slightly wavering flight. It was lit up by the sodium lighting of the local hotel.

I live on the edge of a small hamlet near to a main road. Surely not a gull at this time? I thought it may of been a Barn Owl transiting our airspace?

I've never seen one more than about 15-20 ft above the ground though.

Ant
It may have been a Barn Owl but I often see gulls flying around at night in Iceland, getting lit up by the street lights.

E
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Old Tuesday 10th August 2004, 11:13   #7
bubobubo
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maybe it was a minmin light
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Old Tuesday 10th August 2004, 11:27   #8
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I always thought all owls were silent in flight?
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Old Tuesday 10th August 2004, 19:23   #9
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All owls are silent in flight. It does lead to moments of great vulnerability. The have to wash their wings regularly as dirt lodged in their feathers makes their wings whistle. So whilst on the ground washing their wings, they are extremely vulnerable.


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Old Wednesday 11th August 2004, 01:16   #10
StevieEvans
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Hello Kajrowe
The vast majority of owls have delicately curved barbs on the leading edge of the largest primary feathers.
This ensures the Barn Owl's wings can cut through the air silently, enabling it to hunt efficiently.
I have a selection of owl feathers 'blu-tacked' onto my bookcase, the Barn Owl ones are the most beautiful.

Ant
Barnies almost allways hunt within 5 metres of the ground.
At other times they will travel at other heights.
I have one on my garden list, it was at about 45feet up.
Ive had them fly by my balcony window in Ibiza at @70 feet above the ground.
When flying back & forth to the nest in local quarries the returning bird can often be 100' up.
(Ive also had Long-eareds come back to the nest at great heights 150-200 feet up, most probably to avoid corvids when feeding the young on sunny Summer evenings.)

Edward
We had Herring Gulls flying by at midnight last weekend while out for the Storm petrel ringing. I ALLWAYS have my bins handy for 'white flashes', whatever the size or height.!


Hiya Gary
I have a mental image of a bathing Tawny & an attacking Gos...
Ring any bells ?
NOT all Owl Species are silent in flight....do you know why ????


Just found out about another new local pair of Barnies tonight !
Regards & Good Owling.
Stevie.

Last edited by StevieEvans : Wednesday 11th August 2004 at 01:19.
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Old Wednesday 11th August 2004, 12:06   #11
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i will look it up and find out but off the top of my head i would say that it is the exclusively nocturnal ones that have the silent flight. If you do know then don't keep the suspense going, do tell hehehe
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Old Wednesday 11th August 2004, 15:55   #12
StevieEvans
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Hi Bubo
Question was directed at Gary gajo...... " All Owls are silent..."

(With me its owls & chocolate digestive biscuits...!)

SE

Last edited by StevieEvans : Wednesday 11th August 2004 at 16:00.
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Old Wednesday 11th August 2004, 16:04   #13
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ooops sorry, blush blush i wonder if there is a link between loving owls and choccy hehehehehe i find the bigger the owl lover the bigger the choccy eater and i will let you into a disgraceful secret, i can easily pack away, 3.5 kg of cads plain choccy in five days. My cad fad is so bad i have to get my friends (who go back to the uk often) and my mum to bring my stock over hehehehehehehehe.
as for bikkies.... that is too hard to answer, as long as they are not too hard to crunch and have choccy, caramel, mint, jam or icing sugar on it!!! so now you know what a piggy i am i shall run off in embarassment hehehehehehehe
bubobubo

by the way what is your answer?
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Old Wednesday 11th August 2004, 16:22   #14
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UR a Lightweight Bubobubo "BOB"

Bob i can down 3 packets of Jaffa Cakes without needing to take a break nor a drink.

Gary will give You the answer im sure....

SE
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Old Wednesday 11th August 2004, 16:41   #15
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Well? Are all owls silent in flight or the vast majority? If the latter, which owls are NOT silent?
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Old Wednesday 11th August 2004, 23:44   #16
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Shhhhhhhhhh......

Helen
Dont wait for me, 'cos im waiting for Gary.

(you know the answer to your first question anyway ! )

Im sure all will be revealed in good time.

Stevie.
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Old Thursday 12th August 2004, 09:46   #17
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i just let you carry on thinking i am a lightweight then that sounds good to me, i won't tell you what i am really capable of. It is only due to the fact that i feel that i HAVE to share bikkies or else. As for cads, i don't share!!! actually it is not even worth thinking about hehehehehe and beware anyone even daring to ask if they can have a square i wouldn't even give a crumble hehehehehe sharing my cads is about as possible as you lots caging wild birds!! just to give you an idea hehehehehehehe. But on the whole i am a generous person (not when it comes to cads though).
bubobubo
steve could you imagine the pair of us birdwatching for hours with one packet of bikkies between us????? NOPE hehehehe
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Old Friday 13th August 2004, 09:56   #18
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here is a picture (not very good but clear enough maybe ) of Eurasian eagle owl primary feather with "comb like" edges.



Al
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Old Friday 13th August 2004, 10:54   #19
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Hi!

Being too much in owl-world, makes me think as if everyone knows everything about owls... It's great you post this picture, Jester, and I guess a fine further link might be http://www.owlpages.com/physiology/f...bubo_x150.html with great microscope image of this type of feather!

Since my native language is Serbian, sorry folks for not so fluent English , I'll cite Mikkola:

"The feathers lack after-shafts but have long, downy bases. The ends of the barbicels are elongated, non-interlocking and produce soft plumage."

If anyone have ever touched owl feather, knows how fine structure it has and almost "silky" tender feeling, reminding a great deal on very fine soft fur. The most probable reason for this adaptation is relying on sound receiving while hunting, and any sound produced by owl itself would disturb receiving sound, making hunting less efficient. Of course, as Bubobubo noted, it would further probably make prey escape...

Regards

Tanja
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Old Friday 13th August 2004, 11:51   #20
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Hiya Gary
I have a mental image of a bathing Tawny & an attacking Gos...
Ring any bells ?
NOT all Owl Species are silent in flight....do you know why ????

Stevie.[/quote]


Ok Stevie, why are NOT all Owl Species silent in flight??/


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Old Saturday 14th August 2004, 16:23   #21
Gajo

 
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Stevie,

The only type of owl I can think of that would not be silent in flight are those owls that hunt from the perch rather than whilst in flight...but I can't help thinking there's a punch line coming /

Last edited by Gajo : Sunday 15th August 2004 at 00:52.
 
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Old Saturday 14th August 2004, 22:22   #22
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Hello gary and stevie, i don't know either of you but gary, I have a feeling that there is definately something in store for you!! stevie the suspense is killing me!!!! do tell there has to be a good story behind this.
As for the comb on the feathers, i have seen an excellent piccy of a barny where the comb is very visible, i shall have to find it and show you.
bubobubo
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Old Saturday 14th August 2004, 22:24   #23
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Hi jester!! i haven't had a chance to say hello for ages!! great piccy by the way!!
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Old Friday 20th August 2004, 11:20   #24
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Gone fishin'............

(been on holidays)

The fishing owls are not silent in flight as they have to carry all that noisy tackle..... ;-)

These are :-

Scotopelia 'african' Fishing Owls
&
Ketupa 'asian' Fish Owls

Fish cant hear, so these owls take on the nocturnal duties of Ospreys, etc & therefore do not require silent flight to hunt successfully.
(diets of some species are not entirely based on fish)

SE
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Old Friday 3rd September 2004, 22:22   #25
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Noisy Owl....?

Q. When is a Barn Owl Not silent in flight.......... ?

A. When it bangs into your neighbours livingroom window !

Tried to photo the print it left on the glass, close up the eye & beak were clearly visible !
(Imprint of primaries just visible to top left)

The neighbours had both front & rear curtains wide open late in the evening.
We presume this was maybe a young bird (pair close by & we have Barn owl on garden-list already) & it tried to fly through what it thought was an open gap?

Stevie.
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