Today we dissected the owl pellets that we found a few weeks ago when we were out walking. We found 2 small soft pellets on Pulpit and 5 larger hard pellets on Watlington hill. They look and feel like they are from different birds but can we find out which ones?
First we had a proper look at them and measured them. The smaller ones were between 2.3-3.5cm long, were grey and felt like soft balls of fluff.
|Smaller, soft grey pellets|
|Larger, hard grey pellets|
The smaller pellets were full of mud and fur. We found a couple of tiny bone fragments and what may have been a feather. There were very few bones in these pellets.
|The smaller pellets contained very few bones and were mostly fur and mud|
|Jaw bone with wobbly teeth in it|
1 of the larger pellets was made up of feathers, including the back/chest of a bird with a wing attached to the side and a wing (not attached to the body like the other one) with the feathers still attached to it. There were lots of bits of feather shaft and even a piece of moss.
|Bird for tea! Wings, feathers and feather shafts|
We used an RSPB document called "Owl pellets, how to study their contents" and tried to work out what had made the pellets.
I think that the big pellets were from a tawny owl because they are the right size (between 2-5cm long), they are hard with a point at one end and the bones are well digested.
I think the smaller pellets are from a kestrel because the bones are more digested than the ones in the tawny owl pellets. They were also the right size and were a very spongey texture. It's possible that they might also be from a red kite as there are a lot of them around here.
I drew this tawny owl using chalk pastels.