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Legend of the Guardians Educational Resource

Main characters: Soren, Digger, Eglantine, Gylfie, Twilight, Kludd, Nyra, Metalbeak
Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Owl Plumage

Owl feathers are very cleverly designed to make them as quiet as possible when in flight. Their wing feathers have comb-like edges to allow the air to pass through them, reducing the noise of their wing movements. Owls also have trailing feathers similar to the fringe of a scarf, which break up sound waves and reduce the noise of their flight even more.

An owl’s movement through the air is completely silent which means that they can hunt without their prey being forewarned of an attack. Their silent flight also means that owls can use their hearing to hunt for prey without the sound of the air drowning out other noises.

The stealth and silence with which owls hunt provide them with a major advantage over other predators by allowing them to track and attack their prey by surprise. Even prey with an acute sense of hearing will not be able to hear the nearing attack because owls’ flights are silent even when measured to an ultra-sonic level.

Owls are also surprisingly light for their size and have extremely long wings allowing them to fly at very slow speeds. This gives them more time to seek out their prey and enables them to carry heavier loads back to their nests.

The markings of barn owls are very interesting. When viewed from above, (the typical viewpoint of attacking birds) and flying over grassland, barn owls can be very difficult for predators to spot due to their mottled brown markings. When viewed hunting from beneath during the daytime, they also become less visible to prey due to their white underside. Barn owls don’t typically hunt during the day unless there is a shortage of food.

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