Barn Owl Pellet Dissection or “Whoo’s Bones are These?”

Free; available at 9:45, 11:45, 1:15 and 2:30 in the kids pavilion. Limited to 25 participants per session.
Led by Ann Hartman (University of Florida)

EREC Silo 4 owl picThis workshop is nature’s version of CSI! Have you ever wondered what sort of prey raptors capture and feed on? Due to the alkaline nature of a Barn Owl’s stomach, many of the bones, fur and chitinous parts of a Barn Owl’s prey are left undigested. Such remains are routinely regurgitated through the mouth in the form of a compact pellet. By collecting and dissecting these pellets, researchers can find out exactly what these marvelous raptors have been eating. Discover for yourself why Barn Owls have frequently been termed the most beneficial bird on the planet.

This workshop will enable each inquisitive participant to dissect his or her very own owl pellet, discovering what lies inside. Then, by comparing skeletal remains utilizing bone charts, CSI’s will be able to figure out exactly what a Barn Owl eats. With a bit of collaborative sleuthing, participants may even discover what type of ecosystem is inhabited by the owls that spit up these pellets. Think picking through owl regurgitation is disgusting? Think again! Believe it or not, pellet dissection is a favorite lesson at many schools throughout the nation. Kids of all ages will find this workshop highly entertaining and informative. Sterilized owl pellets, dissecting tools and bone charts will be provided free of charge to all Crime Scene Investigators.

Dusty and sibs 2