A few weeks ago, LS yelled out to the teachers on the yard to “Come look!” Normally this exclamation occurs when a child has found a new crop of mushrooms. a snail in the garden, or lately, bird poop. We teachers were pleasantly surprised to find something much more unique to our backyard habitat: an OWL PELLET!!
After we observed the pellet on the yard, noticing the tiny bones protruding from the mass of wet fur, we decided we needed to investigate further. So we brought it inside. We are all curious scientists here at Tulip Tree so we got our gear on, our tools out and began our investigation. First we discussed what a pellet was and we hypothesized about which animals that lived in our area may have left it behind. We guessed, hawks, falcons and eagles but ultimately decided it was probably an owl.
Next, we got out our trusty tweezers and started dissecting the pellet. As we pulled out the tiny bones, we placed them on a tray and tried to guess what parts of the mystery animal’s body they could be from. We found what we thought might be hip bones, leg bones, claws and even pieces of the spine that were still connected so we could simulate the movement of the animal’s back.
The children were very careful and respectful during this whole process. This was a fascinating biological investigation but it hit at the root of our over-arching ecological conversations as well. We have been talking a lot about balance in our ecosystem and this discovery tied in so perfectly. While we love the squirrels that run free in our yard, owls also need to eat to survive. This animal will now provide great nutrients for the soil under the chestnut tree, helping it to grow food for other squirrels.
So much more on this topic and all the curriculum we’ve been working on with the kids at our PARENT NIGHT!! Thursday, February 20th!!