I didn't see him, this is an archived photo from Jan. 22nd, but the evidence is there.
Adult owls swallow prey whole. The parents break prey into piece for the owlets.
They cannot produce enough stomach acid to digest bones, skulls, teeth, fur, feathers, and scales. These things stay in the gizzard, while the meat goes down into the intestine. The owl poop is called mute. It's a bright, white colour. It's easier to spot it on the ground, without snow! The white mute is the giveaway. It usually tells me to look for a pellet, rather than the other way around.
I brought it back to the house in a piece of birch bark. I let the pellet dry, then dissected it.
Again, a Bird Studies Canada expert identified the bones for me! Amanda Guercio The jaw bone is from a vole (Meadow would probably be the most likely), and the skull appears to be from a shrew, probably Short-tailed.
|catch and release vole|
These pointy teeth could harm the owl's intestines, so everything is coughed up in a pellet. It could take 10 hours, until the meal is digested, and the pellet is coughed up.
This is from the previous pellet, Feb. 24th, now nicely dried.
2017 Barred Owl EvidenceDec. 23rd – One out hunting in the afternoon sun (video).
Jan. 22nd – BLue jays clued me in. Photos and video!
Jan. 24th – Near the nest, blue jays alerted me again.
Feb. 24th – Found an owl pellet under his favourite tree!
Mar. 29th – Pooped under his tree in the night.
April 3rd – Owl pellet
I found a whole rodent skeleton in September, 2016.