Monday, September 19, 2011

Extraordinary Owl Pellet

High atop Monkey Rock at Baleine Peninsula,
one of the properties Nova Scotia
is considering declaring a protected area,

while observing migrating whimbrels
feeding on the crowberry barrens,
I decided to explore.

Resting on top of a rock pillar that was split apart from the rest
of this massive boulder was the most interesting 'owl pellet'. 
When I spotted it through my binoculars, my curiousity got
the best of me and employing a little gall in my old age,
I managed to breach the gap to investigate further. 
There were 3 or 4 regular but older pellets
containing the usual rodent bones,
but this one was fresh and new.  And very strange.

Yes, those are somebody's feet!  I didn't throw down
anything for scale, but I carry an assortment of containers
in my backpack for just such finds,
and this fit perfectly into an old discarded pill bottle
that measured 3" high and 2" in diameter.
It also contained a bone, .5 inches in diameter and 2.5" long
and some feathers.

You know what?  It kind of gave me the willies. 
I couldn't bring myself to pick it apart:)!
Now that it's been discarded, I'm sorry I didn't.

The Ranger suggests a very hungry Great Horned Owl left this behind,
and I'll wager a very confident guess
based on the freshness of the pellet,
the size and color of the feet,
and the numbers of Whimbrel passing through,
that these feet, indeed, belong to a Whimbrel.

For an excellent, well laid out post about owl pellets,


Bob Bushell said...

Wow, you found my dinner, yummy.

the cuby poet said...

Believe it or not I have dissected owl pellets and certainly never encountered anything like this. Are we safe? A really interesting post today.

Miss Holly said...

I totally understand getting a bit of the willies here....I too would have felt that I think....actually I think I am feeling it ! but still so interesting...Great Horned do you think?......I can not believe I have still not been to Nova Scotia.....It is exactly the terrain I love..... the Whimbrel.....what a gorgeous always a wonderful post!!

TexWisGirl said...

yup, kinda creepy!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

It's creepy alright, but I'm guessing you're correct about the find. You're a great, courageous detective!

Kay L. Davies said...

Well, it is a little creepy to look at, but after I found my whole deck covered in heads, feet and wings of songbirds eaten in our trees by Merlin Falcons, it's harder to freak me out. Not to mention years of seeing people eat chicken feet in Vancouver's Chinatown.
You're probably right, though: a large owl dined on undercooked whimbrel.
I love Nova Scotia, especially Cape Breton. I think this should, indeed, be a protected area. Too much of Canada is unprotected and developers are still trying to get important BC wetlands removed from protected status. Now that really freaks me out.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

hetty said...

Fascinating find! Those feet had to go in before they came out. Glad I'm not a Great Horned Owl!

Carrie P. said...

EEwww! that looks like something from a horror movies. Gave me the creeps looking at it.
I don't think I could have picked it apart either.

Linda Reeder said...

Wow! That's very cool, and creepy.

swamp4me said...

Cool! I definitely would have dissected that one - creepy though it was :)

Just Ramblin' said...

Oh my, the things you find when you're out and about. It is a little creepy, but interesting...I think. Nola

Barb said...

What a beautiful place, enjoyed your picture and found your blog to be very interesting.

Connie said...

That is one ugly foot! I really enjoy your information, I didn't even know about owl pellets before!
Quilting by the River

Kalyan said...

Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

Dog-Walker said...

I don't anything about killing Owls, but I really like the band called Owl City. They have good songs like Fireflies and To the Sky, anything by Owl City.

KPage said...