Friday, June 16, 2006

Update on the bird pellet: I went back this morning and found it, along with a few more in the same place. This must be a popular hangout, although there's nothing overhead to perch on except hydro lines. I bagged up three pellets and brought them home for further study:

(Scientific dissecting tool included for scale.)

They're quite hard and desiccated, so my scientific dissecting tool wasn't very effective. I put on some gloves and just tore the pellets apart. They're mainly tightly-packed hair and what looks like dirt, along with a few bones.

Those are some interesting little bones, but I wouldn't say there are a lot of them, so I'll guess these pellets came from a hawk rather than an owl.


Donwatcher said...

Hi Marnie,

An interesting study. Not being an expert I can't say for sure but my guess would be owl pellets. I don't think hawks regurgitate pellets because they eat by tearing the flesh from their prey and eating only that part so they don't need to swallow prey whole.

Other birds that do swallow prey whole and regurgitate pellets would be fish eating birds like gulls or herons or maybe even kingfishers.


Marnie said...

I've read quite a few online sources that mention hawks ejecting pellets, and the fact that they contain fewer bones than owl pellets. There must be heron pellets along the river, but the quantity of hair in the ones I found makes me believe they're from something that eats small rodents rather than fish. It could well be an owl rather than a hawk, I'll admit.