Kids have a hoot at Wareham Land Trust owl pellet event

Jan 20, 2018

A group of budding naturalists spent Saturday morning in the Wareham Free Library picking apart barn owl “pellets,” finding out exactly what the birds had for dinner.

Hosted by the Wareham Land Trust, the event featured a brief lesson on the pellets, which are the undigested pieces of fur and bone of rats and voles that the birds of prey eat.

Tom Kinsky, of the Wareham Land Trust, explained that while the owls cough up the pellets, it isn’t vomit. Because the birds eat their prey whole, it’s necessary for them to get rid of the bones.

“These owls don’t have a knife and fork,” he said. “They tear apart the prey with their beaks and talons and eat them whole for the most part.”

After a demonstration, kids at the event got their hands on pellets and began carefully picking them apart with toothpicks, finding a variety of bones.

“I found another shrew part!” Victoria Nee, 7, told her mother, Amanda. Asked if she found anything surprising in her pellet, Victoria was very matter of fact.

“No, I’ve done this before,” she said.