Jenny, Rowena and I hosted an owl pellet inspection day on 31st August. Jenny explained all about the different owls that were present at Lantallack - tawny owls, barn owls and the little owl (which sadly hasn't been seen for a couple of years) and exactly what an owl pellet was.
Owls, like many other birds, eat their food whole. Since birds do not have teeth, they can't chew their food, so they use their strong, sharp beaks to rip their prey apart (very often voles, small rabbits, moles etc) and then swallow large chunks whole. The owl slowly digests its meal by separating the softer materials (such as meat) from the harder material (such as bones). It then regurgitates the harder material along with indigestible items such as feathers and fur in the form of a pellet.
Jenny brought her stuffed Barn owl which is so beautiful... and weightless.... with stunning feathers.
Jenny and Rowena soaked the owl pellets for an hour or two to make them easier for everyone to dissect. When the children (and adults - who couldn't resist joining in!) began to break them up to search for the bones of the tiny animals the owl had eaten, they just fell apart and what they found was so exciting!