saxicoline – adjective
pellet – noun
1. a small, hard ball of food, medicine, etc.
2. a small metal object that is shot from a gun
Owl pellets contain bones, skulls, fur, feathers, claws and teeth of whatever prey they eat. These pellets are regurgitated, or thrown up, by the owl as these particles cannot be digested.
Barred Owls, Great Horned Owls and Spotted Owls may look for small, saxicoline animals to eat. Such animals that live among rocks may be mice, snakes, smaller bird species, voles and bats.
Insects are also a tasty choice for owls like moths, beetles and crickets. However, as these insects do not have bones, most of their bodies are digestible for the owl and not likely to show up in the pellets.
Ornithologists study owl pellets in different regions to better understand the habitats in which they live. By doing this, much is learned to help protect the owls and their habitats. Like all birds of prey, they are protected by law against hunters.
The next time you explore your backyard or neighborhood, you may find a pellet like this and will know you have an owl nearby. Happy exploring.