Julia M. Chin '21, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Student Research Paper

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Department 1



Magnificent in its sheer power and beauty, this owl wing has a wingspan of 18 inches and measures 10 inches from the shoulder bone to the secondary feathers. Wings such as the one displayed play a vital role in the lifestyle of owls and other hunting birds who fulfill their dietary requirements through stealthy foraging in the dark of the night. Being predatory animals, an owl depends upon its wings as a weapon, equipping it with an arsenal worthy of any hunter. Because of their composition of downy feathers, soft fringes, and comb-like primary feathers, these light appendages create less audible sound waves through air, giving an owl the advantage of nearly silent flight. [excerpt]

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Produced as part of a collaboration between Kay Etheridge's course FYS-188: Exploration of the Marvelous: Art and Science in the Renaissance, and Felicia Else's course ARTH 284: Wonders of Nature and Artifice: The Renaissance Quest for Knowledge.

Original version online at

Audio guide on the symbolism of owls included.