About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Art of Silent Flight in Slow Motion!

"Nature does nothing uselessly." ~Aristotle(384 BC - 322 BC), Politics

Silent flight not only adds to the owl's mystique, it serves the very practical purpose of sneaking up on its prey.

Owls' wings are designed to allow them to fly in almost absolute silence. Owls have broad wings with large surface areas that help them to glide through the air without a lot of flapping.

It also helps that an owl's primary feathers are serrated and to cut the flow of wind into smaller currents called micro-turbulences. Then the edge of the primary feathers muffles the sound of air as it passes by shifting the angle of the air flow and allowing air to pass through the wing.

Today using the wise old owl's secret to silent flight may just be the key to reducing airplane noise. Researchers propose the possibility of creating retractable fringe to mirror owls' serrated feathers and applying a velvety coating on landing gear to absorb noise just as downy feathers do for the owl. This plan could eventually reduce noise pollution all over the world.

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2 comments:

Let's Paint Nature said...

Wow! That video is terrific. Owls are my favorite birds by far. BTW, I enjoy reading your posts everyday, very informative, I'm learning a lot...found you on Nature Blog Network.
Chris

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Thank you very much for the kind comment. I’m glad you like my posts. I receive hundreds of questions every year about birds and it’s been nice to have a place to write about nature.