Friday, December 7, 2007

Another Bird Project-- Owl Pellets

Some of our recent homeschool fun-- dissecting owl pellets. Owls can't pass the bones of the small critters they eat, so they spit them up in balls of fur, bone and goo. Which you can then tear apart with probe and forceps to figure out what was on the menu... Dissecting them dry takes much longer, but dunking them in water to soften them up and speed the process has one very definite downside-- it vastly magnifies the smell...

We bought a kit, which included a bone identification booklet. Mikro doesn't really have the fine motor skills for this one, but like any kid, he finds the somewhat gross somewhat appealing. He gleefully watched mama do the poking and prodding, while daddy did the identifying of the bits and pieces. We did three pellets, and came up with skulls from a small bird, a rat and a mole, as well as a bunch of smaller bones including vertebrae, tibias, femurs, ribs, etc.

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