Large Hair (et. al) Ball

Yesterday, I collected the SD card from my trail cam that is set up in the nearby barn where the endangered Barn Owls have recently been spotted. While I was changing out the batteries and SD card, I noticed a couple of owl “pellets” on the barn floor. So, before leaving, I placed them inside my small fanny pack and took them home with me. Here is an image of the 2 pellets I found yesterday:

Fresh Barn Owl pellets

If you look closely, you can clearly see some small bones and strands of hair/fur on the righthand-side pellet. This pellet was very soft, not hard as typically found. This tells me this is a quite fresh pellet, left by one of the Barn Owls very recently.

Once home, I placed the pellets in aluminum foil and sterilized them in the oven. Soon, I will dissect the pellets and collect/identify the undigested materials from the pellet. For those not aware, owls swallow their prey whole. Since the digestive fluids of owls are quite weak, they cannot digest body parts like bones, teeth, feathers or furs. Consequently, owls regurgitate pellets, or castings of the undigested bits, before they eat their next meal. If you have a cat, you are probably already familiar with this process … it is quite similar to cats coughing up hair balls. Since owls swallow their prey whole, it will be interesting to see what I can find and what the owls have been eating (most likely, mice or voles). Who knows, if lucky I may be able to put together a mouse skeleton! Stay tuned for the “autopsy” report, as well as a synopsis of my review of trail cam videos.  :o)



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