Owls are known for their ability to fly without making a sound. They possess soft body feathers and flight feathers with fringed edges that reduce sound by dampening turbulence as air moves over them. Staying silent while aloft allows the owls to hear their prey and at the same time prevents their approach from being detected. Sometimes these silent flights end with the startled squeak of a small rodent as the owl makes a successful capture. Unfortunately, they also sometimes end with an audible "whump" as an owl flies headfirst into a pane of glass.
Two such unfortunate owls were brought to PAWS Wildlife Center in late October. The first was a diminutive Northern Saw-whet Owl that struck the front window of a Safeway store only a mile from PAWS. PAWS' Wildlife Admissions Specialist Cindy Kirkendall retrieved the owl from a small tree in the grocery store parking lot shortly after the incident. He was still quite stunned.