Monday, February 27, 2012

Owl pellets. Gross!!

The kids noticed these at Silverleaves recently and correctly identified them, I believe, as owl pellets. Hannah being an avid reader of the book series Guardians of Ga'Hoole was able to remind me that owls regurgitate their undigested food (bones, feathers, fur) in the form of these pellets. A little further reading informs me that many birds produce such pellets but that due to the features of their gastrointestinal tracts, it is owls and hawks/falcons that produce the most noticeable pellets.

I am guessing that the bird responsible for these pellets is a small owl, possibly Southern boobook. I am certainly familiar with it's well-known mopoke call but have not seen one in the wild since I've been listing my sightings!

Ahhh! One day!

Owl pellet showing a presumed mouse mandible with teeth,
a long bone and fur

I don't have large hands! The pellet was about 3cm long.
I washed said small hands vigorously after reading somewhere
that it is best not to handle pellets due to infection risk!


  1. I'm sure your patients would be glad of your hygiene! Well done Hannah! Powerful Owl Pete? or a Snowy called Hedwig? And I love all this informative stuff you are posting, if only I'd been this interested in reading at school ....

  2. Hahaha!
    I love Richard's comment!!
    Yeah, well I would be also very careful with those owl pellets!
    Wild birds (and animals all together) are carriers of many bacteria and viruses... But since I read you have patients, I guess you know! LOL!
    Wonders of nature!
    Interesting post, though!

  3. I've seen stuff like that minus the bones here in Tenterfield (NSW) but thought it was the result of a cat or fox. The pellets I find are much bigger, probably about 15cm across, and reminds me more of a flattened out fur ball a cat through up. Bones are scattered nearby. I never suspected it could be from a bird of prey. Now, thanks to you, I have to rethink about what is killing rabbits in the immediate area, when I find these pellets in the early mornings by the creek. Without any photos or videos of these birds of prey, it would be a very good idea, as you have done, to add these pellet findings to my own bird blog, as evidence of some noctural bird of prey still existing in town. Your posting is a brilliant idea. Keep adding the "Pellet findings" no matter how "Gross" they are. Thanks for adding it to your blog and keep up the excellent work.

  4. Hey pete, do you have any photos of Wedge-tailed Eagle pellets?
    I'd love to see the size of them!