Remains of the night

Owl Pellets: this 5th anniversary highlight reminds me I have a bunch of these in the freezer still…

Backyard and Beyond

Out Madaket way, a row of arbor vitae had been cut back recently because they were crowding the road. Underneath were dozens of bodies. Was it the work of a serial killer? No, some owls had been feeding.
Pellets are what these regurgitated masses of prey vomited up by birds are called. A number of species expel pellets, but owl pellets are the best known. Since owls often eat in the same place night after night, the pellets can pile up, and, in addition, their digestive juices aren’t as strong as, for instance, diurnal raptors, so bones are preserved whole.
And sharp as in these mouse jaws. Owls hack up entire skeletons along with the fur of their meal. The pellets are regularly used in both school biology classes for dissection and by biologists studying owl predation.
At the beginning of the new year, I will be presenting a series…

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