The All About Owls classes are coming up soon and I wanted to get reacquainted with the slightly gross owl pellet. As you probably know, owls are predators. They hunt and eat mice, voles, and other small mammals and small birds. The owl swallows the animal meal whole, then regurgitates the fur and bones as a pellet. On the hiking trail at the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge, there is one tree where you can often find pellets on the ground. It must be a popular dining spot.
The pellets I will be using in the upcoming class were bought from the Raptor Center. They are autoclaved (heated) to kill most germs and bacteria. We used gloves today just to be extra safe.
There is a surprising amount of fur that is compressed into the pellet. My student used her fingers to break apart the fur and came up with a few small bones.
In the All About Owls class, students will learn about the owls that are found in Minnesota and how they fly, hunt, and nest. Each student will dissect an owl pellet and can bring the bones home to examine and admire.
I was reminded of my cousin who many years ago used the bones from owl pellets to create small desert scenes by placing a mouse skull in the sand near a small cactus in a Georgia O'Keefe style.
All About Owls classes are offered in Bloomington and Shakopee.