Super-Powered Owls: what Harry Potter didn’t teach you

Lifting the lid on one of Britain's stealthiest killers

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The feathered stars of tonight’s Natural World might look cute and cuddly, but it’s worth remembering just how deadly they can be to their unruly prey.

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After all, while Harry Potter may have helped the owl become a desirable pet, with wings that emit no sound while in flight it is among our most efficient killers. You can see that silent flying in action in the video below – do not adjust your speakers, it really is that quiet…

Of course, the stealthy barn isn’t the only owl to get some spotlight in tonight’s programme. The tawny owl, pictured below, is the biggest in Britain though not the most collectible.

Says ornithologist Graham Martin: “The tawny is difficult to breed from so doesn’t do well in captivity, whereas there’s a market in barn owls because they will breed. But they don’t do much. They just sit and stare!” 

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Super-Powered Owls: Natural World is on BBC2 tonight (Tuesday 3rd March) at 8.00pm