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More Thoughts on Owls and Our PELLET Discoveries!

Posted by on June 27, 2015

Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.

~Standing Bear

Oh LOOK … our BABIES are ALL grown up! Phew! They look SO much better now! It’s AMAZING what a few MORE adult feathers can do to enhance a baby Barn owl’s appearance!

“WOW! Peanut the barn owl baby swallowed a WHOLE mouse. It was amazing! Did you know that a group of baby barn owls is called a BROOD? Owls can turn their heads up to 270 degrees. If an owl hunts in the snow he can’t see his prey but he can HEAR it. Owls always use their talons for hunting. If an owl finds a female the male will try to get her attention by bringing her food. When the female agrees, they will mate. They will try to find a good nest. Some will nest on abandoned nests. Owls fly very silent so their prey can’t hear it. They spread their wings.” ~Roxanne

“Let’s start with my highlights first. My first highlight is that we got to dissect owl pellets. My favourite part of dissecting the owl pellets was getting a bird scull because Oliver and I were the only ones to get bird sculls. Now, let’s get onto my highlights with Janice. My first highlight with Janice was when she brought out Ophelia the Great Horned owl. I’ve never seen a Great Horned owl before.” ~Adam

“When we started learning about owls we started with watching owl cams. So, we went more into learning owls. But, I would say my favourite discovery is how quiet owls can fly. They make no sound when they fly. A person came in with a Great Horned owl.” ~Haya

This is a GREAT screen shot of the five surviving babies. They have a LONG way to go before we can call them ADORABLE!

This is a GREAT screen shot of the five surviving babies. They have a LONG way to go before we can call them ADORABLE!

“My favourite owls are Snowy owls, the Elf owl and Barn owls because their feathers are so beautiful and they’re so cute, but let’s go to the very beginning when they were just little eggs. When the baby is in the egg the mother must keep it warm or else it will die and we don’t want THAT to happen, do we? And, once the chick is ready to come out it uses this little bump on their beak that’s called an egg tooth, but it takes a very long, long time to make just a little hole. But, once it’s out, it is very hungry and they can not see at all because it’s too helpless to even open it’s eyes. You may think that they’re so cute but really they are a little, well, UGLY!!! Some people think they’re so cute but cute isn’t the word I would use. I would say ugly … ya … THAT’S the word! Anyways, where was I? Oh, yes. The baby owlet must be fed. The mom must keep her baby warm because it doesn’t not have any warm feathers.” ~Marah

“My most favourite owl is the Snowy owl and the Great Horned owl but my most favourite owl is the Barn owl. They’re so majestic. When we watched an owl video we saw a Barn owl fly very well. It can almost hear a mouse or a rat, rodent, anything small 90 feet away. a few days ago a lady called Janice came with an owl called Ophelia. She is a Great Horned owl. She’s very cute. Janice told us that a skunk got caught with a plastic can holder. So sad. I learned that when an owl’s feet get into your hand it would hurt. At first when she came out she snapped her beak like clucking. When an owl finds something to eat in the snow it comes and stomps to find it. Ophelia has maybe a broken wing because Janice told us.” ~Luisa

“Hmmm. what is my favourite type of owl? Barn owl or Great Horned owl? Wow. I wish Ophelia was still here because I miss her. Ten years ago there was over 200 types of owls. I think it is cool that owls can fly silently. Owls have an enemy which is called rain. I think it will be cool to eat a whole mouse. I think it is cool that snowy owls can swim. I wish I could find an owl pellet in the wild. In my classroom we watched a Barn owl cam. I think it is cool. I think the Elf owl is really cute. I think Barn owl babies are ugly! I love owls. They can be ugly or cute but they have been in the world for a long time.” ~Thomas

We THOUGHT this would be GROSS ... but ... we were WRONG!!! WHAT an ADVENTURE!

We THOUGHT this would be GROSS … but … we were WRONG!!! WHAT an ADVENTURE!

“Dissecting owl pellets was really COOL and FUN! I found quite a lot of bones. In the owl pellets there either would be rodents, moles, shrews or birds. I think I got a rodent because that is the only type of skull I got. Only two people got a bird skull. Those people are Oliver and Adam. My favourite owls are Great Grey owls, Short Eared owls and Snowy owls. I think Short Eared owls are cute. Most people got rodents from these pellets.” ~Colby

“I LOVE Snowy owls and Barred owls and the Elf owl too. Did you know when a Barn owl flies it is VERY silent? And, the Great Grey owl is the BIGGEST.” ~Saadia

“Hoooo … hoooo! What’s that, mister owl? You want to know what owl is my favourite? Hmm. Well, I love the Great Grey owl and the Elf owl is cute too. I would say the Great Grey owl and the Elf owl. I LOVE them! Oh. Sorry, did I not introduce myself? Well, my name is Shaye. My friends call me Shaye Shaye. Okay. I will tell you what was daw dropping for me on the video. It was that the barn owl can plop onto it’s pray 12 times heavier than it’s normal weight. Now, THAT is jaw dropping! Oh ya. I forgot to tell you we are dissecting owl pellets. I found a skull in mine and a lot of bones. I named my rodent Sky for some reason. I noticed that the Snowy owl female has more brown splotches on her feathers than the male owls. The Snowy owl protects their nest even from polar bears!” ~Shaye

Thank GOODNESS for our BONE sorting charts! SOME of these bones are SO tiny it's hard to tell WHAT they are!

Thank GOODNESS for our BONE sorting charts! SOME of these bones are SO tiny it’s hard to tell WHAT they are!

“My favourite owls are Snowy owls, Elf owls and Barn owls. I love owls because they’re cute and AWESOME! There are so many owls in the world that I can not count them. Baby owls are so cute. And, baby owls grow real fast. A Grey owls has a big face.” ~Prayers

“It was so great when Janice came in. Do you know what I wish? That the owl was a Great Grey owl! There are around 200 species of owls! An adult female Snowy owl may weigh more than five pounds! A hungry Snowy owl could swallow down a dozen Elf owls but it could still be hungry! In the morning, we had owl pellets. One thing I was happy about … getting a skull. It was a rodent, not a bird! Ophelia was so awesome. I discovered that a Barn owl can fly really slow and quiet. The Great Grey owl is the biggest, largest owl in the world. I wonder what is the smallest owl in the world. I wonder what is the biggest wing span in the world. Ophelia was so cool. She squawked when the introducer got the Horned owl out of her cage.” ~Alvin

“My top favourite owls are the Barn owl, Snowy owl, Elf owl, Great Horned owl, Great Grey owl and the Long Eared owl. I wonder what your favourite owl is? My discovery of the Barn owl is that they can fly so silently! My lowlight of the Texas Barn owl cam is that the fifth owlet died of starvation. Did you know that there are around 200 species of owls? We’re not sure, though. a lady named Janice came into our classroom with Ophelia the Great Horned owl. Janice told us all about owls. We got to feel the wings of an owl. Also, the talons. If you see a hurt animal or a sick animal, go on your computer, if you have one, and search up CalgaryWildlife.org and if you spot their phone number, call them. Or, if you spot their address, drive your car with the sick or injured animal to the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society!” ~Faith

It takes a LOT of work to pluck out all the fur in these pellets ... it's WORTH it, though, because we are discovering TONS of bones!

It takes a LOT of work to pluck out all the fur in these pellets … it’s WORTH it, though, because we are discovering TONS of bones!

“Our owl visit was wonderful! A representer came in with a Great Horned owl!!! The representer’s name is Janice. The owl’s name is Ophelia. Janice is a worker with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society. Yesterday we started to dissect sterilized owl pellets. It was easy at the start but it got challenging. Boy, is IT hard! Oh, I forgot the owl cams. We started off checking two cams, but after we only checked one. The sad thing is that one chick died of starvation, and an egg was non-viable. But, the good news is that four chicks are still alive. I had a lot of discoveries. My favourite is how owls can fly silently!” ~Bryan

“Eww, I said sharply to Luisa, as I carefully unwrapped the shining silver tinfoil covering the owl pellet. Oh ya. I should tell you that our class got to dissect owl pellets! And, I’m here to tell you some cool facts and other things about owls! My favourite kind of owl is the Barn owl because it’s heart-shaped face is very unique. Now, here are some facts. Owls can turn their heads up to 279 degrees! Barn owls can hear a mouse’s footsteps from 90 feet away! Snowy owls can lay up to 14 eggs! So neat! Owls are so fascinating, right? This is now the time for my wonders! I wonder how long it takes for an owl to start and finish a nest!” ~Marcus

“Hi. My name is Olivia and I’ve learned that there is a box and inside the box is an owl family. When we first saw the owls we thought they were ugly. Even Mrs. Renton thought they were ugly. I really, really, REALLY wonder if an owl can have 10 or more owlets. If you’re wondering what the mom and dad’s names are, they are Dottie and Casper. And, the fourth owlet is called Peanut. On June 16 an owl visited our classroom. It was so sad that a skunk got stuck in some garbage. I discovered that owls, eagles and hawks spit out pellets. If you are wondering what a pellet is, it is an owl spitting a mouse’s fur and bones out.” ~Olivia

This is SO cool! Can YOU figure out what I'm holding?

This is SO cool! Can YOU figure out what I’m holding? DON’T worry … I wouldn’t have known it was a mouse pelvis without my BONE chart!

“My highlight. Hey … that looks like POOOO! But, it’s actually NOT … it’s actually PELLETS … OWL pellets! And, you probably would not like to hear about it. Do you? Okay. I’m going to tell you about my favourite owls because in my class we are studying owls. Okay. My favourite owls are the Elf owl, Tawny owl and last, but NOT least, the Great Horned owl. Did you know that owls, (oh, I also love the Barn owl), sorry … okay … can fly silently? I think there are 150 kinds but no one really agrees and no one really knows. I really wanna study birds when I grow up, really badly, and I also wanna find a dinosaur!” ~Sofie

“A few days ago a lady named Janice brought an owl named Ophelia, the Great Horned owl, in the classroom. Ophelia had big yellow eyes that I couldn’t help but stare into. She also had an adorable body and beak.” ~Aleah

“Ophelia the owl, or should I say Ophelia the GREAT Horned owl, I think is AMAZING! When Ophelia came out of her cage the sound she made sounded like a frozen cold mouse chittering. I really wish Ophelia hooted. I can not believe it that a real live owl was in a school, ten or so feet away from me! The reason that I wished that Ophelia would of hooted is because I’ve only heard recorded owls hooting. I discovered that owl pellets are WAY more packed with bones than I thought they would be. I also discovered that owl pellets are expensive to buy. I saw, on a website, that one is around $4.00 to $5.00! So far I just love dissecting the owl pellets. I really liked getting out all the big bones because they’re SOOO much easier to pick up. as for the 1 – 2 mm long bones, they are pretty hard to pick up. When we first received the owl pellets and tried to split it in half I thought I would break it because it’s so hard!” ~William

SOME of us wore MASKS because we didn't want tiny pieces of FUR up our noses! YUCK!

SOME of us wore MASKS because we didn’t want tiny pieces of FUR up our noses! YUCK!

“My favourite owl is the Snowy owl and the Barn owl because they are both really cute and majestic. Did you know that owls have ears in the same spot that WE do? Did you know that owl’s hearing is 10 times more sensitive than OUR hearing? When owls fly they don’t make a single noise so they can sneak up on their prey.” ~Liam

“Cool! I didn’t know that owls are silent flyers. My favourite owl is the Barn owl because they are cute and we watch them on a Texas Barn owl cam. did you know that owls have ears that are lower on the left and higher on the right? Did you know that owls can turn their heads three quarters of a circle, which is 270 degrees! I have a good fact for you. Snowy owls can lay up to 14 eggs! The oldest eats first. Snowy owls have reddish yellow eyes. Snowy owls attack around their nests. Did you know that Snowy owls have thick grey down feathers that can be great insulators? I wonder how high up owls can fly?” ~Robert

“Dissecting owl pellets is REALLY cool! I was the first one to find a bird skull in the whole class! I have three top favourite owls and my favourite out of those three is the Great Grey owl. It is very cool. You should search it up some time. My favourite part of dissecting the owl pellets was finding a bunch of really cool bones like rodents’ shoulder blades, birds’ hind legs, bird skulls and all kinds of cool stuff. My lowlight was seeing the pellets for the first time because they looked like some human castings and it was horrible to think that I had to touch them … but … then I got over it and decided that it was WORTH it!” ~Oliver

It takes a TON of concentration to be able to do this!

It takes a TON of concentration to be able to do this!

“Wow! How does Ophelia drop at 12 times her weight? When Ophelia came with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society I was so pumped I was ready to explode! Janice the volunteer taught us a lot of things. These are my favourites. Have you ever wondered how owls fly silently? They have little eyelash like tips on the ends of their feathers that cut out the wind. There’s science behind silent flying! Another one is that the whole owl’s head is meant for hearing. The circle head is like a satellite dish. It then transfers the sound to it’s ear. The weird thing is some owls have one ear higher than the other! So, if it hits the lowest ear first it means what ever made the sound is below the owl. It was also fun when we dissected owl pellets. Owl pellets are formed when the owl can’t digest something so it compacts it into a pellet. A few hours later the pellets come out. Luckily for us our pellets were sterilized! PHEW! We got to dissect them and so far we’ve got a lot of bones and some caterpillar poop. The next step is to glue the skeleton together, which I am excited for. My favourite owl is the Short Eared owl because it’s so cute. If I could do this again, I would!” ~Riley

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Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

~Khalil Gibran

2 Responses to More Thoughts on Owls and Our PELLET Discoveries!

  1. Brant Parker

    What a great post! This entry and the blog post are a reflection of a wonderful year of learning. Well done Laurie!

    • Laurie Renton

      Thank you, Brant!

      We’ve had SO much enjoyment discovering more about animals because of the amazing live webcams available to us online … and who DOESN’T love to dissect an owl pellet, or two? We’ve had a GREAT year of learning. And, because of you and David, we’ve been able to continue sharing a few of our adventures on our special blog! We’ve been blessed! It’s truly hard to believe that we’re off for summer now. The year has FLOWN by.

      Thank you SO much for EVERYTHING you’ve done for me … for us … Brant! Have an AMAZING summer!

      Laurie 🙂

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