Amazing bird imprints

Imagine waking in the middle of the night to a thump downstairs. Fearing a burglary, you dress quickly, pick up something inappropriate to use as a weapon, and tip-toe down the stairs. Thankfully the TV is still there, so is the XBox and the PC. The door is locked too. It is then, as you scratch your head with the banana you picked as a weapon, that you see a ghostly image against the window, illuminated in the moonlight.

This was what happened to Sally Arnold (everything apart from the banana). This amazing picture was taken at her home in Cumbria, North England, where an owl had crashed into her window leaving its imprint, beak, eyes and feathers included. Here are some similar pictures.

This is not guerilla art, a PR stunt or a trick of the camera but an act of nature. The imprints are caused by the bird’s powder down, a special type of down which helps feathers to grow. In some species, the tips of the barbules on powder down feathers disintegrate, forming fine particles of keratin, which appear as a powder, or ‘feather dust’. When a bird strikes a glass pane, the power is shaken lose and adheres to the glass. The effects are simply amazing.

Pics via BBC website

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