Pel­lets

Bird Watching (UK) - - What To See And How To See It -

It is not just owls which pro­duce pel­lets – re­gur­gi­tated bun­dles of undi­gested, undi­gestible ma­te­rial. Many other birds also re­gur­gi­tate them, which when an­a­lysed re­veal a lot of in­for­ma­tion about a par­tic­u­lar bird’s diet. Th­ese in­clude birds of prey, herons, gulls, shrikes, crows, king­fish­ers, grebes and even waders. Pel­lets from dif­fer­ent types of bird are gen­er­ally dis­tin­guished by size, form, con­sis­tency and co­he­sive­ness and the ma­te­rial that com­prises them. Owls have par­tic­u­larly well de­fined pel­lets and their rel­a­tively mild di­ges­tive sys­tems mean that the re­gur­gi­tated ma­te­rial, par­tic­u­larly bones re­main well in­tact (see right). Gen­tly teas­ing apart an owl pellet, us­ing tweez­ers and with the aid of wa­ter, is a bril­liant way of find­ing out what the owl has been eat­ing.

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