Normal feather and owl feather, SEM

Feather comparison of Swallow (Hirundo rustica) and Tawny owl (Strix aluco), scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Owls have the benefit of silent flight due to the filamentous extensions of their anterior barbules on their feathers. Most other birds including other raptors do not have this feather structure. This gives the owl an added advantage when swooping on its unsuspecting prey. Magnification x96 at 10cm wide

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