Monday, December 9, 2013

Studying Owl Pellets

There are no knick knacks or trinkets around my house.

I don't display dishes or figurines, nor do I collect things.

Along my window sill are rocks, shells and beach glass. On every table top, dresser and book shelf are skulls, jaw bones, spinal cords, hooves and antlers from some wild animal. Vases and jars are stuffed with owl, raven, hawk, jay, woodpecker and turkey feathers I've found while hiking this land.

And I have a thing for owl pellets. I don't have them on display really. But, they are inside wooden boxes here and there, stashed in drawers, tucked inside a piece of driftwood or occasionally one will appear on the sill alongside a special pinecone.

Well what do you know. I do collect things!

Yesterday morning, I poured myself a lovely cup of coffee and got busy studying an owl pellet. I read about some biology classes that dissect pellets. It's better than frogs! When I was in eighth grade, I did not enjoy dissecting frogs. Not one bit. I realize that this project is popular with children's amateur naturalist classes, but I really wanted to see what "my" great horned owl has been nibbling on.

It's no surprise that my detective work resulted in finding quills and bones from small birds and rodents. All those remains tightly packed in with fur and feathers. It's quite interesting, really. Don't you think?

 

20 comments:

  1. I think it is very interesting...this is what my bio-anthropologist friends does essentially...looking at clues in the strangest places to learn about the past.

    I love owl, fascinated by their heads...however, i had never seen an owl pellet.

    Happy New week to you....( I collect things too but trying to give it up, I know I would not be able to do so if I lived surrounded by nature)

    xoxo

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    1. Your friends do interesting work. I should have gone into anthropology or detective work. I'm obviously a late bloomer!
      Owl heads are amazing. The heart shaped face on some, and the flatness in the side view. Incredible.

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  2. Fascinating! I just hope the husband understands when I start collecting pellets for intensive study....
    ;)

    You know, I 've always been one to "decorate" with rocks and bones and sticks and feathers myself. Never thought of it as strange....as I love to surround myself with nature, with the things that speak to me.
    we do think the same way, sister.

    xx

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    1. Believe me, your man will get used to it. The oddness of it will turn to curiosity! And then, one day he will bring you home a "present", and it will be an owl pellet! That's just how it is!! ;)

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  3. I love owls.
    To bad Ms. K. was not at home when I was in the Hunsrück area.

    Your little findings/bones look great!

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    1. Hi lily!
      Who is Ms. k?? Is she a special owl lady? :)

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  4. difficult to believe that a pellet can contain so many wonderful trinkets!

    some days i look around at all the bones and sticks and rocks i have collected and wonder….what will they think when i leave all this behind??….

    * love *

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    1. Lol! So true!
      I think stuff like that too. They'd say, 'she was so weird. Look at all those grey balls of dead fur and bones she has lying around her house. And that hoof, and those deer teeth and...'.
      Haha! xo

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  5. Believe it or not I've only seen an owl once in my entire life (in the wild). Such beautiful birds!!

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    1. Just one more reason to get out here!

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  6. I LOVE owl pellets!
    When we were younger, we got to dissect those in class and I remember how felt like it was like opening a treasure box! Wondering what was in everyone elses- wondering how many more little pieces I would find. I didn't realize how excited I was about it until just now.
    I do also remember the frogs.
    I feel like the also still remember the frog smell.
    I'm with you there- I didn't like it one bit.

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    1. Ha! It was like opening a treasure box, Ash. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
      xo

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  7. Another lady with "weird" decorating taste. ;) It's called the naturalist style?!
    Gosh, love your owl up there and the wee bones.... this morning I heard an
    owl hoot down below - I shined the flashlight but could not see him. Maybe I should go search for a pellet?!! ;)
    xo!!

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    1. Oh yes! Go hunting! On your wild hill I'm sure you'll discover one eventually.
      You seem to find everything else!!! ;)

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  8. it is absolutely fascinating!!!
    I have only seen an owl pellet once...when I was a young girl
    A pellet hunting I MUST go!!!!

    xxoo
    love and light

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    1. You see your share of owls, I'm sure you could find one or two! Just circle tree perches or telephone poles!
      x

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  9. Interesting! This is really something different. I've never looked at a owl pellet. So this made me think.

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  10. As soon as I finished reading your 1st paragraph, I said out loud, it may not be china, but you A.R.E a collector! I scare myself sometimes when i think about the big IF: I, too, would be collecting bones, skulls, rocks, feathers, animals...all of it & with glee! Funny story, I had a unique experience while visiting a Wildlife Rescue/Rehab center in northern NY...as a beautiful Barn Owl perched on the glove of a caretaker, it looked at me & coughed up a pellet! I looked at my husband & swooned...who quickly replied with a "Don't you dare, we're not taking that home!" Suffice to say, I didn't ask to keep the pellet...Xo

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    1. Really? You didn't keep the pellet?
      Or did you sneak it in your pocket, and you're not telling. ;)

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