An owl pellet is one of the most fascinating things about an owl. In this adventure we will investigate an owl pellet. The owl pellet we will be using comes from a barn owl. Barn owls have thick feathers to absorb any sound for a silent flight. They can turn their head 270° since they cant move their eyes in their sockets and owls are nocturnal. Owls are carnivores, they use their keen sense of sight to find prey in the dark. They have an acute sense of hearing which also helps in finding meals. Owls are stealth hunters, they can easily sneak up on their prey with their sharp talons. Owl pellets are masses of bone, teeth, hair, feathers and exoskeletons of various animals preyed upon by raptors, or birds of prey. Since owl do not have any teeth, they eat their pray whole or by pieces. After an owl swallows its meal, it travels down the esophagus, then through the proventriculus, and finally into the gizzard. In the gizzard, the meal is separated. The parts that are not digestible go in the pellet. After the pellet is formed, the owl regurgitates the pellet.
Materials Owl Pellet Toothpick or Tweezers Sheet of paper
1. Split the owl pellet into two pieces over a sheet of paper 2. Take half of the owl pellet and thoroughly search the pellet for bones (you may use tweezers or a toothpick) 3. Split the bones from the hair, fur, and feathers 4. Take the other half of the pellet and follow steps 2 & 3 again 5. Once done, define what and how much prey you have 6. Finally, fill in the data tables
In this pellet, there were four voles. You can distinguish a vole by their teeth. Voles have two enormous front teeth and then a gap between the rest of the teeth.
Prey animal foundNumber of eachNon-prey items found A Vole 4 None AnimalVole Pocket Gopher MouseShrewRatBirdMoleTotal # found Percent92%5%3%0% 100% Prey Animals per pellet Total # of pellets in class Total # prey animals in class #students w/ea amt. of prey animal Percent0%40%30%25%5%0% 100% Average number of prey animals per pellet (mean) Number of prey animals contained by most pellets (mode) Lowest to highest number of prey animals in one pellet (range) 32 and 31-5 Data Tables 1 pellet Class room of pellets Whole 6 th grade
Number of Pray Animals per Pellet Prey Animals per Pellet #students w/ea amt. of prey animal
Types of Prey Animals found in Owl Pellets # found Type of Animal
Conclusion Owl pellet with four voles inside. Scientists study owl pellets to learn about what an owl eats, how it eats it, where it lives, and there diet patterns. With the information on slide 8, a barn owl will consume about 14 animals a week which is about 728 animals on a year. The most common animal found in a pellet is a vole. So, an owl will live in an environment full of voles or an environment fit for voles. We also know that owls eat the whole animal because an owl pellet is produced. In conclusion, there are million things to discover about an owl pellet.