Who Gives a Hoot: Owl Pellet Dissection. Goals for Today. Learn background information and adaptations that make owls top level consumers. Successfully dissect, identify, and reconstruct the remains of owl pellets. Identify the relationship between diversity and stability.
Barn Owls (Tyto alba) swallow small birds and rodents whole.
Owls cannot digest bony material and hair of prey = formation of pellet in gizzard.
Pellets are coughed up between 12-20hrs after ingestion (avg. 2 per day).
Owls have special adaptations allowing them to be a top level consumer.
Safety first – Put gloves on before unwrapping pellet.
Use dissection needles to loosen hair of pellet.
As you uncover bones set them aside on the black paper. Use the Bone Chart and Skull Identification Key to quantify and identify bones (answer questions 1 and 2 on handout).
1 group member record findings in proper color column on board.
Attempt to reconstruct skeleton by gluing bones to black paper.
Answer the remainder of the questions on your group handout (3-9).
Scientist study owl pellets in order to learn about the migration patterns of prey.
Food Chain/Food Web
Each group member answer the closure question at the bottom of your handout.