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Unusual pellet contents (former: Egg eating tread)

 
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tanja sova



Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 485
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 9:29 pm    Post subject: Unusual pellet contents (former: Egg eating tread) Reply with quote

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has information about Barn Owl eating egg?
I've found undoubtely eaten one in a fresh pellet, entangled tightely with the rest of the pellet residue - sculls and such.
Any information on this appreciated. Thanks Very Happy

Tanja
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Last edited by tanja sova on Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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owlpages
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Joined: 13 Jan 2004
Posts: 438
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2004 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's interesting Tanja - i've just had an e-mail from someone asking why his barn owl eggs vanish without a trace sometimes. i wonder if this may be the cause? Unsure
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tanja sova



Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 485
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2004 5:14 am    Post subject: suppose we'll find out... Reply with quote

Hi, Deane Very Happy

David told me that most of owls do eat their egg shells after hatching, to re-use calcium. He also assumed that it might happen pigeon egg fell over pellet hip and stick to one of them. I have confirmed information that this particular attic is used by pigeons, as well. But this egg shell was not being able to be seen on the surface, and as you know, Barn Owl pellets are specific with peculiar layer that covers the pellet. I was surprised indeed finding out this egg shell with membrane still closely attached was tightly entangled with other pellet residues such are vole jaws... I can take a photo and send it - it still can be seen that shell was inside the pellet. On the other hand, it is not logical for me that owl ate shell to re-use calcium and then eject it without digesting it... Perhaps pellet was not long enough in its system to allow egg shell to be resorbed more. That is why I've asked this to learn a bit more if someone has any information about this. The very first time I've found egg shell residues IN THE PELLET.

See ya Wink

Tanja
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Ivy



Joined: 14 Jan 2004
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if this is related... I have been watching an owl family on a webcam, and there were 7 eggs layed, but only 6 hatched. The seventh egg isn't to be found. It was assumed that the egg did not hatch, and was either consumed or buried in the box somewhere. Could this be the case? I'm certainly not an expert, though I aspire to be one someday!

Ivy Very Happy
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tanja sova



Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 485
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:59 pm    Post subject: Another pellet containing egg shell residues Reply with quote

It's me again Wink (no need to worry, dear Bubo & Jester, will not reach your score soon Very Happy so I may relax and post more)

Now seriously!

I've found another Barn Owl pellet containing egg shell residues. As digital camera was available (thanks to Stevan Avramov, plant biologist Very Happy ), we took a photo of half-dissected pellet. In my gallery, in a pellet story album, there is a photo of it. Upper pellet is a fresh one, and was collected at the nest. At the same attics were present few other nesting birds (pigeon, with nestlings, but also traces of nesting Kestrels and Little Owl). Lower part of the picture represents pellet originated from mid-March, when this thread began. I still don't have a proper explanation, so if anyone knows, please let me know about articles or info...

Thanks!

Best regards from Belgrade (Beograd: Beo=white, grad=town)

Tanja Cute Owl 2
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tanja sova



Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 485
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,

As I promised to Romillyh in Strix aluco pellet discussion, here is the photo of the cloth I found in one of the TO pellets:



It would be nice if anyone else has found unusual owl pellet content to post here, what do you think?

Owl Regards

Tanja Cute Owl 2
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Laughing Owl Lover



Joined: 06 Jun 2006
Posts: 450
Location: Candyland

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a cloth!!!!!! why, you think!?!?!?!
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- Thanx so much!Very Happy
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goglover!



Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I wonder why and egg or cloth would be found inside an owl pellet?
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emma303



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im wondering my the owl would eat a cloth also...I guess they didn't know what it was and they were curious and ate it. Confused
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CyberKat



Joined: 14 Apr 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Belgrade / Serbia

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orrrr... the owl ate some mouse that was fully dressed Very Happy or the mouse ate the cloth, the owl ate a mouse... but what about the egg than? Wait I know! The mouse brought a cloth to wrap the egg and steal it, cause of course it was too huge for him to just carry away. (not really sure why would a mouse do that but hey... strange things happen LOL) .. than the owl went for the mouse and ate both egg and cloth by mistake? Hmmmm... no. Not really. Sorry... I'm in a silly mood tonight.
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theowlette
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Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 461
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the chuckle! We wouldn't want an adult mouse walking around naked, would we?

My class just dissected barn owl pellets, and we found quite a few leaves and twigs (not bones) within the owl pellets. Perhaps the rodent was placed on a leaf before being consumed?
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tanja sova



Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 485
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and what about little bit of whole grain?

healthy food, man! I mean owl!

until this silly Tawny Owl, I have found piece of plastic rope (can you imagine poor rat that was still grasping it while LEO was swallowing it???), many different seeds obviously taken with rodent and so much more...

Cool

PS. Kato, egg shell was in Tyto alba pellet, cloth in Strix aluco from Zvezdara, and all those other unusual stuff from Asio otus pellets. When you open it really carefully, sometimes you find the clue how it came there - mostly grasp of caught prey holding it.
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romillyh



Joined: 12 Mar 2006
Posts: 69
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:23 pm    Post subject: egg shells, cloth and leaves Reply with quote

Apologies for resurrecting this (well, why not), but I see Tanja put up a photo for my benefit and I never responded. I don't know if she's still around on the forum - gather she's been busy lately.

Tanja, first, the cloth. I'm not surprised to see that in a tawny pellet! All three birds I've had have enjoyed ripping up newspaper, sponge, cloth - anything rippable - into shreds, and it's not at all unlikely they'd swallow a piece from time to time. Owls finding cloth outside can't be uncommon. The owl sets about these things ferociously and goes on for hours, or until the job's completed - it comes across as a kind of practice/play. Maybe for dealing with those larger prey items that need ripping up, or when mama shreds food to feed chicks. Things they can shred easily don't seem to get swallowed. Cloth would be more difficult to shred and (I've seen this) the owl may start chucking it back - i.e. swallowing it. String and plastic ties are other things they can't rip up and so try to swallow. Once they start chucking back they find it difficult to stop, though I have seen a couple of mine pulling a half-swallowed food item out because it was too big. I think Karla once mentioned Alice (GHO) ripping stuff up in a post on her blog. Mine also ripped up soft toys - like an owl (!) and an Audubon Cardinal. I managed to rescue the Cardinal but not the owl.

[EDIT addition Nov 6, 2008 This behavior is shown in a YouTube video of a wild Snowy ripping at burlap covering a young tree. It's suggested that it was hungry/starving as it was found dead some unspecified time later. Whatever, here's the clip (2 min)]

As to egg shells, I understood too that it's a common habit for the mother to consume them. Certainly our tawny mother does (five eggs that I can confirm, tho I didn't actually see her doing it), and Bill shows June eating the shells in his Owlcam video. That's Barred Owls. On absorbing calcium, I thought it was established that adult owls do at least partially absorb calcium from bones, and that nestlings are capable of absorbing almost all the calcium, presumably because they need it. This ability falls off as they mature. Sorry can't provide ref for this (bit busy meself at the moment), but there is one as I remember reading it! Inference of course is that the same applies to shell: the fragments may be regurgitated, but they come out with less calcium than they went in with.

Nothing on Barn Owls I'm afraid, but so many people have them it must be possible to find out quite easily.

To wind up on Owlette's leaves in a Barn Owl pellet. I was fascinated by that as (1) the first thing one little tawny I released did was to pluck and "chew" (yes) a wad of oak leaves before swallowing them (I have a video), and (2) I once found a tawny pellet apparently consisting entirely of leaves. Unfortunately I wasn't pellet-attuned at the time, and it was a bit damp and mushy, so I didn't keep it. It was under a nesting tree. Cusses!

[EDIT addition Feb 21, 2010 -- There are now two clips on my YouTube channel showing owls eating strange things:

1. Stripey the Great Horned Owl eating grapes and snow (1:55, my thanks to Max Terman for this): YouTube link

2. Tawny Owl eating oak leaves (3:46, my own owl, in the "video" referred to above): YouTube link]

romillyh


Last edited by romillyh on Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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muralikrishnac



Joined: 18 Feb 2010
Posts: 8
Location: INDIA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:32 am    Post subject: owls feeding on egg shells. Reply with quote

Yes it's a true phenomenon of birds eating their egg shells. This act is done to regain the calcium lost. I hav seen Eurasian eagle owl jus throwing away the egg shells away from the nest but some of the egg shells were missing after the hatchings hav come out even i din't find the shells where it used to throw and around. So i also had thought that they r were feeding on the egg shells. Cool
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Koj09



Joined: 15 Aug 2010
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im still dumbfounded about the cloth! Blink

Maybe the mouse got really, really, really hungry and was bankrupt so it shoved the cloth in its mouth and got eaten? Irony much?

Haha, not really. Right? RIGHT? Uh-oh... the mice are going bankrupt!

Cloth+eggshell+pellet= i really dont know.
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