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On Discovering Pellets | Exterior My Window


Crimson-tailed hawk casting a pellet, 2018 (picture by Chad+Chris Saladin)

22 January 2023

This red-tailed hawk will not be consuming the lump close to his mouth. He’s casting a pellet of indigestible bones, fur and feathers that got here up from his gizzard. Pellets are a traditional by-product of digestion in birds of prey. In the event you discover one, it may possibly inform you what the hen was consuming.

We at all times discover pellets throughout annual upkeep on the Pitt peregrine nestbox together with these three discovered throughout our 9 January go to (paperclip for scale). The pellets could be many months outdated.

Peregrine pellets from Cathedral of Studying nestbox, 9 Jan 2023 (picture by Kate St. John)

A closeup exhibits feathers and bones (no fur*) however will not be very enlightening as a result of pellet’s age. Thankfully I saved the pellets in a ziploc bag. After they thawed a small fly appeared contained in the bag, hatched from eggs laid on the pellet in a lot hotter climate. Ewww!

Closeup of peregrine pellet (picture by Kate St. John)

I think about the pellets got here from Morela for the reason that inexperienced perch is certainly one of her favourite locations to relaxation and digest.

Morela casting a pellet, 17 Dec 2021 (picture from the Nationwide Aviary snapshot digicam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

* p.s. There isn’t any fur in peregrine pellets as a result of they don’t eat mammals, solely birds.

(images from Chad+Chris Saladin, Kate St. John, the Nationwide Aviary snapshot digicam at Univ of Pittsburgh and Wikimedia Commons)

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