When you really think about it, whenever you see birds fly around you, like pigeons, and more, you can hear them flapping their wings as they make their way closer to you.
And then you have the barn owl.
There’s a reason why these birds are some of the sneakiest around, as they make practically zero noise when flying from point A to point B.
In an effort to help us better understand how owls are able to fly so silently, BBC Earth conducted an experiment with a pigeon, a peregrine falcon, and an owl, displaying the sound each bird makes while flying over a number of hot mics.
When they break down the pigeon and the falcon, you are able to see how each spike in sound is generated by wind from the birds’ wings, as when air moves, it generates sound.
The pigeon has a large body, and small wings, so it has to do much more flapping to stay airborne.
With the falcon, it has larger wings, but needs to flap more to create higher speeds, so it can chase down its prey as quickly as possible.
Then, with the owl, it has a small body and large wings, so all it needs is one large wing flap to stay airborne, and glides the rest of the way. As you see the owl fly over a pile of feathers, not a single feather moves, unlike the pigeon and the falcon.