Wednesday, 4 April 2012

barn owl pellets...


Today, we have been learning more about barn owls as it's a horrible cold and wet day. We are making alternative 'party bags' for the little man's birthday party in a few weeks time, that are essentially little boxes with owl pellets, an identification sheet and cocktail sticks in ~ mini dissection kits. 

Owls swallow their food whole, mainly mice, voles and the occasional shrew and small bird, but can't digest the fur and bones so bring this up in the form of small pellets (pictured above). All owls do this and you can often find pellets below nesting sites, under trees or in barns. To dissect an owl pellet all you need is some cocktail sticks, and a little patience. You can find skulls, leg bones sometimes even tiny weeny teeth. If you want to learn more then we also use this fab book published by the Mammal Society called 'The Analysis of Owl Pellets' which is £3.95. You can also get owl pellets online but I'm not sure what they are like. 

We have also been glued to the Dorset Wildlife Trust's barn owl nest box cam too! 

1 comment:

  1. Your owl pellets blog reminded me of when my boys were little and willing to join me on adventurous walks. We would name the different routes around Randwick woods and Haresfield Beacon about things we had found along the way. One such was Mousebone walk - after the mouse bones found in an owl pellet at the base of an ancient beech tree (which also had one of those wonderful long low branches, perfect for sitting on). Even now, at 22 and 18, I bet they could still find their way along Mousebone walk. Just don't ask about the Oggividdy or the OnkyPonky.

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