I learn so much from other blogging homeschool moms. Several months ago I read about a super cool science activity – dissecting owl pellets. First of all, I did not even know what an owl pellet was.
Owls, like many raptors, eat their food whole. Since birds do not have teeth, they can”t chew their food. Therefore, they use their strong and sharp beaks to rip their prey apart and then swallow large chunks whole. The owl slowly digests its meal by separating the softer materials (such as meat) from the harder material (such as bones). It then regurgitates the harder material along with indigestible items such as feathers and fur in the form of a pellet. Gross – yet so much fun 🙂
I wonder where I would get owl pellets – did I know any who lived in the country that had owls around. How long would it take to get enough pellets for science lab. Well, much to my surprise – you can buy owl pellets.
I was a little worried when the owl pellets arrived. They were a lot smaller than I imagined. I was not sure if we would find anything in them. Not need to worry – we found plenty to ooohhhh and aaahhhhh about 🙂
I found a great resources to help us identify the bones that we found in our owl pellets. Click here to get a copy of the Owl Pellet Bone Chart.
Science Lab Day – I always include a Bible verse to go along with our science lab.
Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them: and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. Genesis 2:19
I earned some brownie points with the boys. After the girls got over the “OH THIS IS GROSS!” stage, they seemed to really have fun with the activity.
Now the fun began…..
1. Measure the length and width of the pellet.
2. Carefully examine the exterior of the pellet. Do you see any signs of fur or feathers? We found some fur in some and some feathers in others
3. Break the pellet about and observe what is within. Expose all the bones.Use the bone diagram to help identify your bones.
4. Identify what type of animal your owl ate….
We have owl pellets with rodents, shrews, moles, and birds. Everyone was so excite when they were able to expose bones, identify them, and identify the animal.
For those that aren”t ready to jump into grossness, I found a great website…KidWings Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection.