Introduction: • An owl pellet is a regurgitated material, which consists of indigestible items such as feathers and fur, which form the pellet.
Like many birds, an owl eats their food whole, due to this fact they can’t chew their food. In the studies of owl pellets, it’s important to examine the pellet(s) because the components inside as well as the outside of the pellet may consist of bones or other remains of an animal that the owl has eaten. By the size of the bones or left over feather/hair scientist can determine whether the species belongs to a specific type of animal, such as a mouse or small bird. Because of the remains in an owl’s pellet, scientist can easily agree that an owl is a tertiary consumer. An owl is a tertiary consumer because it normally eats the secondary consumer such as a bird, which can digest a primary consumer such as a worm. It can also be a secondary consumer because it can consume a mouse that obtains its energy from vegetables, but obtains energy from both the vegetables and mouse.
Purpose: • I began my investigation of the owl’s pellet to answer my research question. My research question was: Based on the data collected what is the owl’s environment? Then I came up with my hypothesis which was: If a small rodent was found along with hay then the owl’s environment was (around) a farm. Methods: • Before my investigation started, the materials I gathered to conduct my experiment were: Tweezers, a plastic bag, some aluminum foil, and gloves. Before doing anything I began my experiment by laying out my plastic bag flat as well as my aluminum foil. Then I proceeded by examining the outside of the pellet, which was surrounded by fur as well as what seemed to be small twigs and or hay. Afterwards I proceeded to take apart my pellet with one hand holding the pellet firm while the other, using the tweezers, began to carefully open up the pellet.
As I went along in identified the contents of the pellet and placed any bones or other valuable evidence onto my aluminum foil. Finally after picking everything out of the pellet I placed the invaluable contents into the plastic bag and began to record my data. Data and Observations: Small mouse bones • Besides the bones that were discovered in the hay there was also fragments of hay and twigs (which was later identified) Types of Bones Amount of Bones Found Skull 2 Scapula 3 Femur 0 Radius and Ulna 1 Fibula and Tibia 2 Clavicle 12 (broken bone) Results • As a result of observing the owl’s pellet, both Hay and small rodents (mice) were found. The animal was identified based on the bones found within the pellet. This included all of the data seen above; it also contained many strands of hay and twigs as, recently stated which could identify that the owl does indeed live in an agricultural (farm like) environment.
Discussion: • Through out the experiment, I kept in mind the different types of animals that could also have been devoured by the owl as well as difference between that of hay and that of a twig (since both seemed identical). Owl pellet dissection lab packet a • Owl pellet dissection lab rubric/ instruction worksheet • However; I had made a few errors during my dissection that I wish to make present in order to avoid any future errors. I had rushed through taking apart my pellet and as a result damaged some of the mice’s bones breaking them in the process of analyzing my pellet. Another error I made at first was identifying the bones of my animal which at first I believe to be a shrew before quickly going back over my work. Conclusion: • So in conclusion my experiment proved my hypothesis correct with supported evidence to back it up. My hypothesis was: If a small rodent was found along with hay then the owl’s environment was (around) a farm.
That was then proven when the surroundings of the owl pellet was coated with hay as well as the inside producing the bones of a small rodent (mice bones) confirming that of my hypothesis.