Sunday, November 13, 2016

twice baked pellets

Great horned owl pellet mostly made up of fur and bones

"Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah, Someone's in the kitchen I know oh-oh-oh."

Well, that's not true. It's just me, Dinah did not show oh-oh-oh. I think the baked goods on the agenda were a little too gro-oh-oss for her.

This morning, it's owl pellets being sterilized for this afternoon's Girl Scout Detective Badge workshop at the nature center. 

Whooo ya lookin' at?
Owls cannot chew their food, so they swallow it more or less whole, letting their stomachs squeeze out all the nutrients it contains. Roughly, eight hours after the meal, they regurgitate (upchuck) a pellet filled with all that could not be digested, mostly fur and bones. Then a smart young naturalist Girl Scout can dissect the mass and discover the bones of its last victim. Sort of like CSI forensic scientists.

And the owl pellet dissection is just one of the four activities we have planned. 

Sterilized Pellet Recipe: 
A) Find a regurgitated owl pellet 
B) Wrap the pellet in aluminum foil, place on cookie sheet 
C) Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

Since an owl pellet is essentially baked once in the bird's stomach, my oven baking was the second. Oddly, it made the house smell like roasted walnuts and burnt hair.

Hint: It's better to do your prep work outside on an old table.

For a look at our last Animal Detectives class click: workshop. 

Now we know the predator and the prey

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