Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Dissecting an Owl Pellet



We have a wild barn owl hunting and roosting around the Centre, I keep finding owl pellets, and so of course keep dissecting them too. 

After the success of our blog post on dissecting owl pellets, I have had many of you (at least 2 I can remember, one being my brother) asking for a video on how to dissect a pellet. Not wanting to disappoint, I set about it.

So here you are, how to dissect an owl pellet in video form. Keep an eye on the blog over the coming weeks for more exciting videos exploring the dynamic world of owl pellets, and for answers to all your burning owl pellet questions.


5 comments:

  1. Love it. I had just watched that episode yesterday.

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  2. Great video!!! (With an awesome beginning, of course :DDD )We did this at the university during the biology teachers course (I study biology, but did a teacher's certificate as well). We soaked ours, but it seems like your way the bones can be pulled out quite clean, while on the wet ones there is lots of fur stuck and it gets messy. Do you have any tips on WHERE to look for owl pellets?? It would be most helpful, then I can collect some and do this with my class one day.

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    1. I prefer to dissect the pellets with out soaking them first, but must admit, that if the pellets are quite old then sometimes it does make it a little easier to soak them first. Much easier to dissect them fresh!

      It can be difficult to find owl pellets, but once you know where owls are active you can always look for signs of roosting spots such as droppings underneath etc. Then you will have a better idea of where to look for the pellets. If you can't find any wild pellets, you could always ask a local bird of prey centre if they could spare some of their owl pellets for you... of course, you would find different bones in these, but would still be fun to dissect them.

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  3. Thanks a lot - are the places where the birds leave pellets usually close to their nests? I happened to come across some pellet-spot once during fieldwork and found lots of bones in one place, but I do not know whether there was any nest nearby.

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    1. Not always, it can vary even between individual owls. We have a wild barn owl around the centre... I have no idea where it is nesting, but it always leaves its pellets in one of a few locations where it must stop for a bit each night. I know of others that always cough up pellets in their nest/roosting spots.

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