When most birds take flight, their wingbeats cause a ruckus; this is typically a repetitive ‘swooshing’ noise generated by the rushing air that gets pushed by the gliding animal’s wings. Barn owls, on the other hand, can fly so silently that you could hear a pin drop at the same time.
In this video, we learn that this happens because of the animals’ body-to-wing ratio and the effort that gets put into staying airborne. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these characteristics change from one bird to another, and we have the science to explain why this happens.
In the case of the two non-owl bird examples, the wings are either small compared to the bird’s body size or used excessively by the bird to generate high movement speeds. In the case of the barn owl example, the bird’s wings are so large compared to the body that owl can simply glide through the air without beating its wings as much.
Intriguing, to say the least…