My very own Barn Owl


Barn Owl Pellet

I think ….

During this last week, or thereabouts, each morning when opening up the workshop , I’ve been met with a chaotic scene.  Things have been knocked over and moved, but most of all the shed is splattered with bird droppings.  Not the little bird type, which I’m used to – but these are huge white splatters, on the floor, beams and walls!  This morning there were black splatters too, and I felt the bird had gone too far.  I also found three fresh pellets  – which is why I’m sort of excusing the mess – because they look like they belong to a Barn Owl.  I’m very excited – but thinking hard how I can somehow contain the dirty state without disturbing the owl to go elsewhere – it would have been better if it had just used the owl box I installed!

Owl pellet

Having identified who produced the pellets, my next task is to find out what they contain so that I know what the owl has been eating.  I need help here with all the tiny bones, skulls, teeth and claws and have a wonderful little booklet produced by the Mammal Society called ‘The Identification of Remains in Owl Pellets’ – perfect!

Owl Pellet leaflet


Skull identification

Owls feed largely on small mammals -they usually swallow their prey whole, and after digesting the flesh, the indigestible fur, bones and other parts, are regurgitated as compact pellets.  Because small mammals can be quite easily identified from their skulls and these are likely to be intact, the analysis of owl pellets provides valuable information about the owl’s diet and what small mammals are in the area.

Dissecting the owl pellet

I’m off to get busy with teasing the pellet apart to see what’s inside – contents breakdown to follow!





  1. Comment by Ellen Abbott:

    Cool. I think one of my kids got a science kit as a gift one year that had an owl pellet in it that they were supposed to undo and find all the stuff.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Great gift Ellen – did they find out? I’ve got a row of pellets now awaiting analysis!

  2. Comment by Ellen Abbott:

    yes, they did. It was a long time ago so I don’t remember what all, little bones and stuff.

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