Science has been our most creative subject this year. We have aimed to be hands on with as much as we can which has led us to more kitchen clean ups, outdoor adventures, and excitement then I could have planned for. Nothing makes learning more involves then having your kids experience it for themselves. I was a bit skeptic when we started researching owl pellet dissection, but we decided to give it a try, and I am so glad we did!
Owl Pellet Dissection
If you are unfamiliar with the term, owl pellets are essentially the extra pieces of food the owl can not digest in their diet that are formed into a tight pellet shape and later spit up. The pellets can contain fur, teeth, feathers, and bones from anything the owl has eaten.
My daughter pictured here was so excited about this project until we showed her a video of how the whole process happens. By the look on her face you can imagine why she was rethinking it as this point! Don’t worry the look quickly faded into fascination!
We ordered our pellets here but there are a lot of great options on Amazon also. Our kits came with just wooden probes
that the kids could use to gently pull apart the pellets. We had enough tweezers and magnifying glasses at home that we didn’t purchase those.
There are several different options between just ordering the pellets to separate kits that include different tools. Joining in with another family and ordering more pellets can also help lower your cost. Well worth it and exciting to do with friends!
Our library had some great resource books about owls, their prey, and how their digestive system works. After reading these, we handed out the pellets and explained some of the things they should expect to see. I was amazed how both my kindergartner and my toddler were both able to peel back layers and find the hidden pieces of remains all by themselves. It was only minutes into it that their hesitations were gone and the room was filled with “whoah, I got a bone”, and “look at the skull I found!” The further they got, the more exciting it became!Using a bone sorting sheet (included in some of the kits and very helpful) to see that both the kids had remains of a rodent in their pellets. It was incredible to see at such a young age how engaged they were and fascinated by the different bones they were able to find. I have to say that I originally considered it a project for when my children were older, but with little expense and the excitement it created, it is completely worth doing at any age!
What do you think? Are you brave enough to give it a try?