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Dissecting owl pellets and cleaning the bones

Owl pellets are regurgitated biological packages filled with indigestible bones, teeth, claws, fur, feathers, and insect shells from the small creatures that owls (and other birds) have swallowed whole. Owls spit out around one a day, creating an abundant supply for researchers and students to dissect and learn more about an owl’s eating habits, ecosystem, health, and more.

How many animals were in the pellet? Can you identify them? If that was one day’s worth of owl food, how many animals might this owl eat in a month?

Olivia of SimplyOlin used owl pellets to create jewelry. In the video above, she demonstrates how she dissects an owl pellet and cleans the bones found within. Tools include: Tweezers, toothpicks, hydrogen peroxide, water, and a few lidded jars.

owl pellet
skulls
Pellet dissection is a popular school project, but it can also be a fascinating project for home. Find them on Amazon.

Related lesson support at BayResortation.org (pdf), Nature-Watch.com (pdf), and Scholastic.

Then watch these videos next: Barred Owl Chick Regurgitates Pellets – Incredible Close-Up and what makes owls so quiet & so deadly for prey?

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