Friday, December 21, 2007

Owl Pellets and Christmas.

Hello everyone! Are you already traveling prior to Christmas?! R and I are having a B Family brunch tomorrow morning, then leaving directly to my hometown to celebrate the holiday. I love the W family Christmas traditions, which include one night of revelry with my parents best friends, the S family. Here are some photos from last year, featuring my Mom and JS engaged in laughter and deep thought, respectively:


The gathering:

Then, for Christmas Eve, my Mom hosts her side of the family. It's a lot of fun.

On Christmas morning my littlest sister K wakes us all up too early to open presents.

K and R.

Then we relax for a while, have a fashion show of any new clothes and get ready for an afternoon at my Aunt and Uncle's house down the street. This is R's favorite activity, as he gets to eat awesome food and relax and watch sports and chat with folks all day. This year we are going to stay at my sister A and her new hubby T-Dogg's house in a nearby town. Here they are with their little dog, "Kung Fu"!


Hopefully I'll have some new pictures to post after this holiday!

Here is our new owl ornament!

In my previous owl post, I forgot to mention one of their important qualities: the ability to make owl pellets. Who dissected these as a kid? I did, and it was awesome; you can see exactly what the owl had been eating!


Unlike other birds, owls are lacking a crop, which is a loose bag in the esophagus which collects food for later consumption. Because owls are predators, their meals consist of difficult to digest things like bones, hair and feathers. These objects are collected in a muscular stomach organ called the gizzard, which manually crushes food. Since most owl food is swallowed whole, this is very important.

After a while, the indigestible contents of the gizzard are compressed and pass upward into the chemical stomach, or proventriculus. The pellet is stored there for several hours. The owl cannot eat while the pellet is in the proventriculus, so the regurgitation of a pellet can often indicate the owl is about to hunt. Prior to regurgitation, the bird closes its eyes and makes a "face" and then the owl pellet just drops out!

OMG, an owl video from YouTube!

When R and I buy a house, hopefully this year, we are totally going to get night time motion detection cameras!

I hope this post puts you in the Christmas spirit, AND I hope you don't end up regurgitating over the holidays!



Katie said...

Last year while attending Forest Lane, Isaac came home and told me about dissecting owl pellets. I had never heard of them before!!! Now I look for them on the ground but have never found one. They look super grody. Do they stink?

Wendell said...

I think the owl pellets are sanitized before the school purchases them.