Friday, October 5, 2012

Hoot Hoot!

Owl Pellets


owlOwl pellets are masses of bone, teeth, hair, feathers and exoskeletons of various animals preyed upon by raptors, or birds of prey. Pellets are produced and regurgitated not only by owls, but by hawks and eagles, and feed early in the evening and regurgitate a single pellet approximately 20 hours after eating. Unlike snakes, the protein enzymes and strong acids which occur in the digestive tract of raptors do not digest the entire meal. The relatively weak stomach muscles of the bird form the undigested fur, bones, feathers etc. into wet slimy pellets. In this process even the most fragile bones are usually preserved unbroken.

This week in Bella's CC (Classical Conversations) class, the kids dissected owl pellets. To be totally honest, I didn't know what owl pellets were before this class, and if I had to guess, I would have guessed owl poop.

The owl pellets we used in class were sterilized and packaged for educational purposes but we still wore gloves, and they still were slightly grody. If you would like to purchase some fun of your own, click here for more info, or  here to watch a fun video.

My girl is extremely (tediously) slow and meticulous. She is very careful, and deliberate.

After all of the bones had been cleaned of fur, the object is to put the skeleton together, and figure out what animal was in your pellet. There was a bone and skeleton identification handout that helped. Bella's pellet contained a mouse.

The picture below is one of the things that I love about this class. Kids sitting and laying on the floor while learning geography, is just a little more fun than sitting at a desk.

After class, the kids all eat lunch in the gymnasium, except for Bella. She would rather hold sweet baby Justice, than eat.
We used to do school after lunch, while Lilly took her nap, but we have found that Bella and Grady are just so much more alert after breakfast. So Lilly does her own school, while the big kids do theirs. This morning I was holding up the letter "I" for Grady, and Lilly said (the short sound of i) "i i i, like Indian". And I smiled, because little sister is already learning her vowels.

And this rainy afternoon just felt like a good time for a movie. Oh, how I love these sweet girls!
In other news, I feel an interview with my kids coming on...
Enjoy your weekend!

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