As Halloween approaches, ravens, crows, and other menacing birds get their time in the spotlight. It’s easy to understand why those birds get such high profiles, considering Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock’s respective efforts to instill fear of them in us. Maybe it’s the Tootsie Pop’s fault, but owls aren’t typically in the same realm of fright-inducement. But it could be by design: They’re stealthy animals.

Deep Look is a YouTube series produced by KQED, the PBS affiliate in San Francisco. “See What Makes Owls So Quiet and So Deadly,” the most recent video in the series, reveals the owl’s intricate physiological details that make it such a successful nocturnal predator. For example, they have comb-like feathers to reduce noise during flight. Christopher J. Clark, an assistant professor of biology at UC Riverside, says it’s “the fluffiness of owl feathers seems to reduce this movement noise.”

Deep Look, which is available in 4k (2160p) shows these minute details quite vividly.

The owls are remarkable, but it’s really the video that is so astounding. With 4k, you can see more than you could even if you were holding the owl and examining it closely. It’s one thing to be educated, it’s another to see exactly what you’re learning about.

An extreme closeup of an owl's comb-like feathers.
An owl taking flight.

Deep Look’s other videos include beetles eating snake flesh to the bone, sea otters and their fur, and camouflaging seahorses. Each video utilizes 4k camerawork to get close to the creatures, which can sometimes be very, very small — those seahorses are the smallest of their species.

4k resolution is the highest that YouTube offers for now. And now more services, like Roku, are making use of the latest HD capability. Even NASA used it to take video of Jupiter.

So watch the video in 4k. It’ll take a little while to buffer, but it’s worth the wait.


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