Saturday 11 May 2013

Discovering owl pellets

Sophie excitedly came home from school last week saying that she needed us to buy her some rubber gloves when we went shopping because she'd be bringing home an owl pellet to dissect! That's something I've always wanted to do, for some strange reason, so we sat down yesterday afternoon and had a play, to see what we'd discover. If you're not sure what owl pellets are, they are basically all the undigested parts - bones, fur, feathers, ... - of whatever prey the owl has been eating that it sicks back up. Lovely ! I was quite surprised at how large they are.

Having already worked on this at school, Sophie knew exactly what to do. You soak it in a little water so it is easier to pull apart.

Then use tweezers and cocktail sticks to gently tease it apart and extract any recognisable bones.

The material, called the matrix, that holds it all together looks a bit like the soil you get in growbags.

What secrets will it hold? Has this owl been eating little rodents or birds?

Well, I'm not sure but those are definitely skulls !

I'm not entirely sure but Sophie thinks that on the left, it's a beak and on the right, there are lots of tiny bones, maybe from mouse legs.

Homework was never this much fun when I was a kid !

You can find out all about dissecting owl pellets on the RSPB kids' website. This youtube video also gives a great overview of what owl pellets are and what you can discover inside them :

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

World War Two Camp Reenactment


  1. Wow that looks really interesting! Not sure if I'd be brave enough to do it myself, but I'm sure my boys would love to do that in a few years.

  2. I remember our children on a field trip which involved dissecting an owl pellet - they thought it was great! Thanks for linking up your finds to Country Kids.

  3. Oh my goodness!I bet it was interesting!

  4. Wow, very interesting! Don't know if I'd have the stomach for it! :)

  5. Wow, that's really interesting. Maybe more kids would be in to science and nature things if they got to do more interesting things like that.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...