Friday, January 6, 2012

Regurgitating Owls!

I love this blog because it introduces us to cute, cuddly critters, but being the wife of a science teacher, cuddly sometimes isn't what I get.  My husband loves birds.  He took ornithology in college and can identify birds by just their call.  To go for a walk with him is like having a professional bird watcher along. Every year, his 8th graders, who take Consumer Science, study birds, do power points about birds, listen to bird calls over and over, and sometimes they even build bird houses.  They also talk about habitat and what the bird eats.

Dissecting an Owl Pellet
To make this part of the course more realistic, the students dissect owl pellets.  Now if you have never had the privilege of doing this, you have missed out on a "Dirty Job" (It really isn't too dirty even though it is puke).  Owl pellets are what an owl regurgitates after eating another animal such as a mouse.  The owl is able to digest all of the meat, muscle, etc., but since s/he cannot digest the bones, these are regurgitated.  The pellet looks like a fuzzy oval ball.  When the owl pellet is dissected, all the bones can be removed and then put together to see what animal the owl actually ate.  It's pretty cool, according to his students.

An Owl Pellet
 To avoid having the students exposed to bacteria, my husband purchases these for his class, but you can actually find them in the woods, in barns, and other habitats of owls.  So why not go scouting for owl pellets this week?  *But watch out for scat (You may have to look that word up in the dictionary.) as it can disguise itself as owl pellets!

*Avoid dissecting owl pellets found in the wild as they may carry unwanted bacteria and diseases. Be sure to wear gloves when picking them up to examine.



  1. Oh my goodness! We dissected owl pellets when I was in 4th grade. I think that it is probably my favorite lesson that I can remember from elementary school.

    1st Grade with Miss Snowden

  2. I loved dissecting Owl pellets in 5th grade. I thought it was so cool. Thanks for sharing. I wish there were owls around here, but they don't seem to be any.

  3. I totally remember doing this in school!!!

  4. I found an owl pellet while hiking with my family when I was little!


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