Dad has been in town for a few days. He is retired, and spends a lot of time thinking about things we can do to my house and garden. Thankfully he also comes to Georgia and helps me work on these projects. During his last visit, we stained the new bridge, replaced glass in the kitchen window and patched drywall, and we found an owl pellet!
You have no idea how exciting this was for me. Back in Junior High science class we dissected one and since then I’ve wanted to find one in the wild. We were standing by the marten house, which has a wren as its sole tenant, and I glanced down to see a ball of grey fur – an owl pellet! Nightly you can hear owls in the neighborhood, but they don’t roost here so the pellet was unexpected. At least the marten house is being used, even if it’s not by martens.
So, what is an owl pellet? Basically an owl will swallow its meal whole, but is unable to digest bones, hair, feathers or teeth. These items are regurgitated. If you look closely at the image you can see tiny bones sticking out of the fur. Yeah, it’s a little gross, but you can dissect it to find out what the owl is feeding on. More importantly for me, I get to know that I’m providing a habitat that is welcoming to owls. Twice now I have looked out my office window, where I am working now, to see a barred owl scanning the ground for mice or voles.
I haven’t investigated this owl pellet yet. Part of me wants to rip it apart, and part of me wants to put it back outside to be absorbed by nature. Wikipedia has some good information on owl pellets if you are curious. If we open this one up we will post the contents as a follow-up.