This is going to sound silly, but I need a naked owl.
I have a barn owl (tyto alba) character who is about the size of an Asian elephant. Ludicrous flight physics aside, I have a human character who needs to be able to ride on his back without yanking on feathers to keep her seat. I'm having her improvise a harness with ropes at first (because she is sick of being carted around in his talons like an oversized fieldmouse) and then later on in the story a proper saddle/straps arrangement is made.
I know that the feathers on a barn owl add up to a lot of fluff that changes the outline of the bird from its actual shape at the skin level. When devising the harness, I can assume that the straps/ropes will vanish under the fluff but it's the actual arrangement of the contraption that I need to work out. The straps and whatnot wouldn't simply sit on top of the feathers, particularly over the chest and belly where there's lots of down.
I need to be able to draw it out so that I can figure how to describe it. Trouble is, I can't find a picture, diagram or photo of a barn owl without its feathers. Some skeletal models, but no such luck finding reference for musculature or skin.
"barn owl" + musculature, muscles, skin, no feathers, naked (never doing that again), anatomy
...and looked through my artists' reference books at home.
- Barn Owl without feathers