Friday, 7 April 2017

Barred Owl Pellet

He's a regular visitor. Daisy and I went down to his tree on April 3rd. Who knows what goes on in the night? Apparently, Barred Owl does!

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.  
Meadow vole 
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 Evidence

Dec. 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.


Out To Pasture said...

Great detective work, Jennifer. I found much the same bones when I dissected pellets from both Screech and Snowy owl's here.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
This reminded me of biology classes at school, last century! We had to go search for the pellets and then bring them into the 'lab' for disection and analysis... fascinating! YAM xx

Christine said...

Hope you get a sighting! Woke up to snow in the Toronto area this morning!

Nancy J said...

Owls, clever birds, ( Remember the wise old one!!!) and they have that inner instinct to know what to eat, and how to stay safe inside. Your are brave to rescue the pellets and dissect. I still remember the smell from High school when we had to dissect opossum intestines!!! Have a great weekend.

William Kendall said...

They're quite efficient.

likeschocolate said...

The owl is gorgeous! We have one in our backyard, but I have never seen him only heard him.

Lowcarb team member said...

Love the photograph of the owl - a beauty.

All the best Jan