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Exploring Prey & Predator Relationships

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Thank you for downloading or purchasing this guide. Our hope is that it will enhance your exploration into prey and predator relationships, conservation, and stewardship. Owl Brand encourages the duplication of the guide for educational purposes and you do not need permission to do so. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form for resale purpose or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any informational storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Additional information can be found at our website or by requesting it at: By Email: info@obdk.com By mail to: OBDK.COM PO Box 12604 Portland, Oregon 97212 Printed in The United States of America Copyrighted Material. All rights reserved. Š1996, 2010, 2012 Owl Brand Discovery Kits, an Owl Brand Supply Co. enterprise.

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Barn Owl Discovery Guide Table of Contents INTRODUCTION TO THE BARN OWL & RELATED SUBJECTS............................................................................ Page 4 Why Owls?....................................................................................................................................4 Which Owls..................................................................................................................................6 Great Horned Owl......................................................................................................................6 Lessons Learned from the Great Horned Owls..............................................................9 Why Study the Barn Owl?.................................................................................................. 10 Barn Owl & Vantage Positions.......................................................................................... 11 Nesting & Mating Habits.................................................................................................... 12 Hunting Techniques.............................................................................................................. 14 Seasonal Prey of the Western Barn Owl....................................................................... 16 OWL PELLET DISSECTION LAB........................................................ Page 18 Food Web in Relation to the Barn Owl – Exercise 1................................................. 20 What’s on the Outside? – Exercise 2...............................................................................21 What’s on the Inside? – Exercise 3.................................................................................. 22 Bleaching & Mounting Bones to the Charts – Exercise 4...................................... 23 Owl Brand Discovery Kit Bone Identification Charts........................................24-29 Certificate of Completion................................................................................................... 31 How can the HOOT Project make a difference?......................................................... 32

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Introduction of the Barn Owl & Related Subjects Why Owls? Throughout time, there are animals that have had an iconic presence in literature, mythology, artwork, and even scary stories shared around the campfire. Reasons for our fascination are as varied as the choices of subjects as we seek to identify with animals that include lions, bears, wolves, and our subject, owls. Often, predators are of particular interest to all ages. The fact is, we have much to learn about these icons of past eras and even more to learn about their place in our present world. As Owl Brand helps broaden our understanding of owls, please consider with us the vast importance of why we should seek to understand predators. There are not only critical issues of how we approach wilderness and live within nature’s balance but also practical applications that we extract from the physiology of owls, such as the recent findings that using owls as a model, a new research study reveals the advantage of stereopsis, commonly referred to as stereo-vision. Reported in the July 2011 Journal of Vision is one scientist’s finding that owls possess an ability to discriminate between objects and background, not in perceiving absolute depth, much like humans. [Source: Owls see in stereo much like

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humans do, Robert F. Van der Willigen, Journal of Vision, June 2011, Disparity sensitivity in man and owl: Psychophysical evidence for equivalent perception of shape-from-stereo, Robert F. van der Willigen, Wolf M. Harmening, Journal of Vision, January 2010] Other more common studies relate to studying owl pellets which are very important for scientists because when we study the components of the pellet we find the bones of the animals that the owl has eaten, for example, small rodent sand bats, so we can learn what kind of small mouse and bat live in the area. If the scientist takes up the pellets of the owl regularly, then he or she can observe the variations of these populations: the growth or diminution of the populations of mice and bats is showed by the augmentation or diminution of the bones in the owl’s pellets. Studying the density of these prey animals can reveal critical information ranging from potential pests for farming communities or likely diseases that are passed within those communities of animals. Finally, a more accessible lesson, and the subject of this annual publication is the overview of the barn owl in relation to the study of prey and predator relations, the information gathered related to food chains and webs, the knowledge of regional differences within the same species, and the gentle nudge of our students toward the development of our cognitive thinking skills. skills.

In short, dissecting owl pellets can help us develop our investigative

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Which Owls? The most common owl that we use for educational opportunities is the Common Barn Owl (tyto alba). There is a couple good reasons for this, mainly the availability of the subject as the Barn Owl lives on nearly every continent and has a comparable diet in all of those settings. Additionally, unlike the Barn Owls cousins, they have a unique method of ingesting their prey whole and regurgitating a pellet that is conveniently packaged as a tightly compacted ball of fur, bones, and other material not needed for its nutrition. And their voracious appetite is only matched by eager students wanting to learn about their diet. Another important owl that we study, mainly because of it’s habitat proximity to the Barn Owl, is the Great Horned Owl. Great Horned Owls, while equally impressive, do not lend themselves as abundantly to the investigative opportunities due to some differences but as we work with students across the world, we find a growing interest in the more difficult to study of the two species.

Great Horned Owls If you asked someone what sound an owl makes, most people would say, “Whoo!” And that’s not necessarily incorrect. But the sounds owls make distinguish them as uniquely as many other characteristics do. For example, a barn owl does not produce a “whoo” but rather a “screech” that has been the source of many mythical explanations to the sounds of dark spooky nights. Screech owls, on the other hand, rarely screech but rather have a staccato like succession of hoots. The Great Horned Owl is known distinctly for it’s “Whoo!” and is one of the most commonly heard owls. While the barn owl boasts a diverse presence on nearly all continents, the great horned owl is the most common owl of the Americas. Its feather tufts that can sometimes make it cat-like in its appearance, resembling horns referred to as “plumicorns”, easily distinguish it.

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GREAT HORNED OWL facts... To hear a great selection of owl sounds, Owl Brand recommends visiting Owl Calls & Sounds at this website: www.owlpages/sounds

Great horned owls are considered “adaptable” birds due to their ability to range from habitats in suburban areas as well as in forests, farmlands, and most places where there is an abundance of prey. Their northern family can migrate in winter but prefer to live in moderate climates where they can live for many years, commonly between 5 and 15 years. These impressive birds, like barn owls, are cavity dwellers by choice, selecting tree holes, stumps, caves, and sometimes the un-occupied nest of a barn owl or other large bird. There are instances where our staff

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has seen a barn owl living in one end of a large structure and a horned owl at the other end. There are as many instances when we have seen barn owls killed by horned owls. For the most part, horned owls are monogamous, meaning they choose one mate for life. Both parents will incubate their eggs, which can range from one to five per clutch. They are fiercely protective parents and known to attack humans who they perceive to be a threat.

Horned owls share the digestive system that is common with all owls. Similarly, horned owls will consume their prey, which is followed by the regurgitation of a pellet that includes the fur, bones, and other parts of their prey that is not required as nutrition. They are known to prey on a huge variety of creatures, including raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, domestic birds, falcons, and other owls. They regularly eat skunks, and may be the only animal with such an The Great Horned Owl appetite. They sometimes hunt for smaller game is the only animal that by standing or walking along the ground. Owls regularly feasts on skunks! have even been known to prey upon wandering cats and dogs.

GREAT HORNED OWL facts... The Great Horned Owl considers other owls and raptors a nutritious part of their daily diet. One bird that likes to give Great Horned Owls grief is the crow as they like to mob owls and attempt to outnumber them. It’s for good reason too as crows are tasty morsels for a Great Horned Owl.

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Because horned owls have a more diverse diet that includes small mammals and larger rodents, they often will need to break up the bones of the animal in order to digest it. For this reason, horned owl pellets are more difficult for the inexperienced eye to identify prey but not impossible. Like other raptors, horned owls are efficient nighttime hunters that strike from above, and use their powerful talons to kill and carry animals several times heavier than themselves. Great horned owls are largely nocturnal so they can be difficult to spot. But in the dark after sunset, or just before dawn, they can often be heard vocalizing with their well-known series of “Hoo hoos!�

Lessons learned from Great Horned Owls Great Horned Owls are terrific survivors and of the many species of owls, they have a great ability to survive. As an apex predator, they have few natural enemies but observing their habitat and hunting behavior reveals many characteristics that lead to their abundant survival rates. Great Horned Owls are highly adaptable birds in that they will relocate or migrate to ensure their survival, as do most owls. If a forested area is threatened, they will reside in a manmade structure. Many lessons are learned from horned owls by studying their prey and there is no better way to draw observations from them than by dissecting their pellets, the regurgitated remains of their diet. Because this particular owl often breaks the bone of its larger prey in order to digest it, they produce a chalky and porous pellet that resembles a grey ice cream cone when it is stumbled upon. When picking it up, if not careful, it will easily fall apart as the chalky bones that are crunched up during ingestion. Identifying the prey of the Great Horned Owl is an investigative puzzle as we are working from fragments rather than the entire skeletal bone structure of the prey as in a Barn Owl pellet.

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Why study the Barn Owl? Barn Owls (Tyto alba) have been a source of fascination for generations for many reasons. From American Indian stories to Celtic myths, the mysterious habits of the Barn Owl have inspired storytellers worldwide. Perhaps you ventured out into the night and heard the banshee-like cry of a hunting Barn Owl; or maybe you’ve been frightened by a shadow falling across your path, which disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Don’t be alarmed. You have probably been a witness to one of creation’s most interesting nocturnal (night) hunters. The Barn Owl is found nearly worldwide in countries with moderate climates, plentiful in numbers, useful in rodent population control, and a vital member of our ecosystem. Studies of these owls reveal much information to scientists, biologists, and students alike in areas of food webs and chains, habitat studies, and much more. While Barn Owls are creation’s gifts to farmers because they hunt rodents that harm crops, they are also gifts to the classroom in that they provide an exciting hands-on approach to learning!

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One of the most common scientific methods used to study and compare the diets of Barn Owls is owl pellet dissection. Because of the abundance of Barn Owl pellets throughout the world, these are inexpensive educational tools that also contain rich learning opportunities. The Barn Owl’s unique digestive system creates a pellet using undigested portions of its prey. The pellet is then orally expelled. If you find pellets scattered below a tree, look up carefully, you may see an owl roosting (resting on a fixed horizontal object) or nesting!

Barn Owl & Vantage Positions Barn Owls are originally cavity dwellers. Before the con-struction of manmade habitats like silos, barns, and church steeples, Barn Owls had to navigate the landscape for a safe and advantageous nesting and roosting site. Sites that lend themselves to prime hunting and safety are referred to as Vantage Positions. Notice in the rock wall to the right the “whitewash.” This is a biologist’s first sign that a Barn Owl may reside here. What makes this type of position extremely ideal for any bird of prey is the way that it sits above an open field or meadow. This field will supply several families of Barn Owls, living in the above rock formation, all year long.

When hiking below these vantage points, keep your eyes on the ground. If you locate a “Bone yard” you

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can probably look up and find a nesting site for different species of owls, in this case, a Barn Owl. And if you look around the base of these rocks, you’re likely to find owl pellets, feathers, bones, masses of fur, and more!

Nesting & Mating Habits of Barn Owls Barn Owls belong to a group of birds known as cavity dwellers. Cavities are defined as holes and caves. When it comes to choosing nesting sites, these owls are not too picky. In a natural setting, they will inhabit tree cavities, crevices between the fronds of palm trees or small caves in cliffs and holes in cut banks. They readily accept artificial cavities as well, and have been found to nest in any snug, quiet enclosure ten feet or more off the ground. These might include rafters, openings between bales of hay, attics and unoccupied rooms in upper stories of buildings. Other suitable nesting sites may be barrels, steel drums, and specially designed nesting boxes. Barn Owls have a particularly short life span, usually from three to five years. They have a tremendous reproduction capacity. In some regions, they have been known to nest year round, raising as many as four clutches (group of hatched eggs). Barn Owls in the most populated areas of the southwest and northwest United States begin selecting nesting sites in December or January. The nesting season is typically from February to May, with peak hatches in April. Occasionally new nests may be started as late as March. By July, most nest sites have been vacated by the young, who have flown to nearby trees or buildings for the final stages of their development. A second nest for the season with the same mate may be started in the same or in a different location. The owls may have different mates during subsequent mating seasons. Males may have two concurrent mates nesting as much as a mile apart during a single season if there is a shortage of males in the area. The clutch size varies, and can commonly have as many as eight eggs. As many as 15 eggs have been seen in several nests; and one case in

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Texas records an extraordinary clutch containing 27 eggs in a single nest box. Even more amazing is that they all survived beyond the juvenile period. The hen (female) lays one egg every two or three days and begins incubating immediately after the first egg is laid. The eggs are incubated for 30 to 33 days each. The chicks hatch in the order in which they were laid, which results in siblings with as much as two weeks age difference between them. During the incubation period, the female remains on the eggs almost continually. She is fed by the male, but nevertheless, loses much of her stored fat. While nesting, the hen often becomes skittish and restless. During this time she is reluctant to leave the nest unguarded. If she is forced to flee in a state of panic and fear, she may abandon the nest. For this reason, it is wise not to disturb a nesting hen during the early part of the breeding season. A parent frightened away from the nest after the incubation period will instinctively return to the nest to continue caring for his or her young. However, inspection of the box during the day in April or May will likely as not find the young home alone. The parents will be roosting in a quiet location nearby. Having worked all night hunting to feed the hungry chicks, they no doubt want some quiet. While an adult Barn Owl may eat one rodent a night, each chick may eat from two to five, depending on the size of the chick and the size of the rodent. During the course of the breeding season, as many as three thousand rodents and small birds may be consumed by the parents and their family of five young. If all goes well, young owls will have made their first flight to a nearby tree or building at approximately eight weeks of age. At this stage they begin final preparations for life on their own; mastering their skills of flying and hunting, while learning how to avoid predators like the Great Horned Owl. The parents continue feeding the young for another four to six weeks. At approximately 18 months of age, the young will begin this reproductive process themselves.

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Hunting Techniques of Barn Owls As hunters, Barns Owls are well-adapted creatures. If you are lucky, you might be fortunate enough to see one in flight, but it is doubtful you will hear the flapping of its wings. Unlike the noisy flight of the pheasant, pigeon or duck, their extraordinary light body weight, wingspan, and feathers are unique, designed to render them almost silent in flight. This also allows the owl to keep both tuned in and aligned with the location of its prey as it flies toward it. Mice, shrews, voles, rats, moles, small birds and insects rarely know what hit them when they become the main item on the menu of the Barn Owl. The Barn Owl flies differently when seen hunting during the daylight hours which generally happens only when it is feeding its young. While many people believe the Barn Owl is blind during the day, it actually has eyes that are well equipped for diurnal (daytime) hunting. The owl has a muscular iris, designed to respond like an automatic shade or curtain, that allows just the right amount of light to pass through the cornea or window of the eye, then through a transparent lens and back onto the retina. They have far better eyesight than humans do. With plenty of light, Barn Owls found hunting during the day are able to locate their prey by sight from great distances, and glide in for the kill. Their highly developed sense of hearing, thought to be 35 to 100 times more sensitive than our own, allows the Barn Owl to hunt in almost complete darkness. They can hear squeaking, scratching or rustling through the dirt, leaves, or grass, pinpoint the

Compared with other birds of prey, the wing tips of an owl are much softer; this enables it to fly silently.

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Humans use muscles to move their eyeballs. The large eyes of an owl do not move within the eye socket, instead, the owl rotates its head to observe the world around it, as if it were looking through a pair of binoculars.

location of that sound in a second, and then align their beak (like an arrow) towards the location of their prey. Taking off from a vantage point, the Barn Owl flaps its wings silently, while swinging its feet back and forth. Then, just before its head collides with the ground and the unsuspecting prey, the owl throws its head back, thrusts its feet forward and sinks its razor sharp talons deep into the body of the prey.

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Seasonal Prey of the Western Barn Owl Depending on the season, the Barn Owl can have a very diverse diet. Pellets collected in various seasons will produce the bones of some of the animals shown below. There are some animals, such as small rodents, that are present in the diet all year long but other migratory animals and insects only present themselves are prey during certain times of the year. Many of these prey are pests to farmers so the Barn Owl is a welcome member of most farming communities as they are a natural form of pest control.

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NOTES:

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Owl Pellet Dissection Lab Barn Owl pellets have been chosen because these owls swallow small rodents and birds whole, and the resulting pellets generally contain the complete skeletons of their prey. Pellets begin forming within the digestive tract of an owl as soon as the prey is swallowed. Enzymatic juices break down the body tissues in the prey but leave the bony materials and hair or feathers undigested. Depending upon the prey eaten, the undigested portions may include beaks, claws, scales, or insect exoskeletons. This type of material has little nutritional value and must be “gagged” from the system. Predatory mammals such as bobcats and wolves have teeth to grind up bones and claws, and a digestive tract adapted to pass these ground parts. Owls, on the other hand, do not have teeth for grinding and cannot pass whole bone and claws through their digestive tract safely. Instead, these materials form a pellet that is surrounded with the hair or feathers of the prey consumed. The pellet is then orally expelled, or gagged, and the owl begins feeding again.

You will need the following items in order to conduct a Barn Owl Discovery Kit Pellet Lab: OBDK Bone Identification Charts Pencil Clean sheet of paper Two probes Tweezers Magnifying glass Paper towels Antibacterial wipes White glue Tub of water diluted bleach

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To aid in prey identification To record findings To place extracted bones on To loosen fur from bones To extract bones away from fur To identify bone type To absorb excess water To sanitize work station To secure bleached bones to bone chart To whiten extracted bones

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Scientists and teachers take advantage of this unique process by collecting these pellets and examining their contents. Since owls are not very selective feeders, these pellets can be used in a variety of instructional settings. The contents are a direct indication of what an owl has fed on. A one-year study of a particular Barn Owl revealed the following diet: 1,407 mice, 143 rats, 7 bats, 5 young rabbits, 375 house sparrows, 23 starlings, 54 other birds, 2 lizards, 174 frogs, 25 moths, and 52 crickets.

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Constructing a Food Web

Animals that eat other organisms for energy and growth are called consumers. There are three consumer levels found in a food web, primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary consumers are usually herbivores; they feed on photosynthetic products such as grass and seeds. Secondary consumers gulp down primary consumers. And tertiary consumers (carnivores) devour secondary consumers and are usually found at the top of the food chain. Here is an example of a food web including the Barn Owl.

Exercise 1: What other carnivores and herbivores would you add

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to the food web? Listing these others, construct a food web, with the Barn Owl at the top.

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What’s on the Outside?

Before you dissect the pellet, examine the outside of the pellet for clues to where it was gathered. Pellets are collected from a variety of places around the country. Use the chart below to see if you can determine where the Barn Owl might have gagged your pellet.

What you might find: Milo Seeds → Grain → Dirt → Hay or Straw → Feathers → Pine needles →

Where owl gagged the pellet: Open sheds Grain elevator Cut banks and under trees Barns and Hay Sheds Man-made nesting boxes Under Evergreen trees

Exercise 2:

1. On your piece of paper, write down the clues that might indicate where your pellet was gathered. 2. Can you identify other items stuck to the outside of the pellet?

© 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .

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Owl Brand Discovery Kits

What’s on the Inside? Exercise 3: Label a clean sheet of paper for each pellet you dissect,

for example, pellet one, pellet two, etc.

Note: If you find that the pellets do not come apart easily, you can soak them in warm water to soften them.

Using the probes provided, begin to loosen the hair of the owl pellet. As bones are uncovered, carefully remove them using your tweezers and place them onto a properly labeled sheet of paper. Take extra care to keep skulls intact and near the mandibles (see Owl Brand Discovery Kit Bone Identification Charts). Continue to extract bones from the hair of the prey. Once you have found all the bones, you can begin identifying them by comparing them to the illustrations on the charts provided.

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Š 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .


Owl Brand Discovery Kits

Bleaching & Mounting the Bones to your Owl Brand Bone Identification Charts Exercise 4: 1.

Keep the bones from each prey item separate by setting each set onto a separate clean (labeled) sheet of paper.

2. Place the bones into a tub of diluted bleach to whiten them. (Bleaching is Optional) 3. After the bones have been cleaned, set them onto a separate dry paper towel. 4. Using a magnifying glass and the Owl Brand Discovery Kits Bone Identification charts, try to identify the type of skeleton that was found in your owl pellet. 5. Use white glue to attach the bones to the correct Bone Identification chart.

Š 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .

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Owl Brand Discovery Kits

BIRD

CLAVICLE

MANDIBLE

SKULL (top view) ULNA FEMUR

FIBULA RADIUS TIBIO TARSUS

SCAPULA

PELVIS

HUMERUS

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© 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .


Owl Brand Discovery Kits

MOLE

Scaparus orarius

MANDIBLE

CLAVICLE

FIBULA

HUMERUS SKULL (top view)

TIBIA FEMUR PELVIS

SCAPULA

© 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .

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Owl Brand Discovery Kits

MOUSE Microtus

CLAVICLE

SKULL (top view) SKULL (side view)

FEMUR

FIBULA

RADIUS

TIBIA

SCAPULA

ULNA

HUMERUS PELVIS

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© 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .


Owl Brand Discovery Kits

RAT

Microtus CLAVICLE

SKULL (side view)

FEMUR

FIBULA RADIUS SKULL (top view)

TIBIA

ULNA

HUMERUS

SCAPULA PELVIS

© 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .

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Owl Brand Discovery Kits

SHREW

Sorex vagrans

MANDIBLE

CLAVICLE ULNA RADIUS SKULL (top view) HUMERUS

TIBIA FIBULA

FEMUR PELVIS SCAPULA

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© 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .


Owl Brand Discovery Kits

VOLE

Microtus

CLAVICLE

FIBULA

TIBIA

MANDIBLE SKULL (top view)

RADIUS HUMERUS

ULNA

FEMUR PELVIS SCAPULA

© 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .

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Owl Brand Discovery Kits

NOTES:

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Š 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .


Barn Owl Discovery Guide Recognizes:

Student Name

Date

For the completion of the

Owl Pellet Dissection Lab Teacher Grade

School

www.obdk.com


Owl Brand Discovery Kits

How can You & The Hoot Project make a difference? Conserving Owls: Cause and Effect The conservation of owls is an important part of preserving wildlife but also has many benefits to property owners, ranchers, and farmers. Barn owls face many natural hazards and have a very high mortality rate. It is common to find numerous juveniles that have died below the roost or nesting location of an owl. Constructing and mounting a nesting box eliminates one of these factors and helps with the following: 1. Good Stewardship. We are entrusted to be good managers of the planet and all of its inhabitants. Encouraging a specie’s survival is part of that responsibility. 2. Good farming. Each year, the cost of pesticides and controls increase and add expense to efficient farming practices and are not desirable by either the farmer or the consumer. Nesting boxes encourage a strong population of barn owls that prey on rodents, insects, and a variety of other pests that are harmful to crops. Effective barn owl nesting campaigns have been known to lower and even eliminate expensive pest control costs for farmers who employ these measures. 3. Good fun. Building a nesting box is a great project for students, campers, scouts, and every community group wanting to participate in good stewardship. Building a box and finding a good location instills that sense of responsibility in our young people and ensures future generations of stewards of our environment. Where would I hang a Nesting Box? Barn Owls like to either be hidden from the view of humans and predators and undisturbed. If the owl can hide, it can easily become accustomed to almost any type of regular human activity or noise and often will quietly observe human activity. They seem to prefer perching on wood rather than metal or stone (presumably for comfort

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Š 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .


Owl Brand Discovery Kits

and minimum heat loss) and well-used roost places are almost always where the owl can stay completely dry during wet weather. Given a choice of perching places a barn owl almost always perches at least 10 feet above ground level. Good locations to hang boxes include high in trees on the edge of a hay or open field, in the high reaches of a barn, on the inside of a hay barn or shed, or on the outside of the structure facing the open field. Good luck! The HOOT Project is a great way to plug your students or groups into great outcomes. Whether supporting a nesting box program in the areas we’re working, or starting your very own HOOT project, our collaboration is making a difference. Learn more about this partnership between Owl Brand and Nature’s Remedy in the form of The HOOT Project today at www.TheHOOTProject.org or at www.obdk.com. We’re Helping Out Owls Together!

© 2 011 O w l B r a n d D i s c o v e r y K i t s . A ll r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . R e p r o d u c t i o n p e r mi s s i o n f o r e d u c a t i o n p ur p o s e s o nl y a n d n o t f o r r e s al e o r c o m m e r c i al u s e w i t h o u t s p e c i f i c p e r mi s s i o n .

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Learn about Prey & Predator Relationships with Owl Brand

Find additional resources on our website at www.obdk.com. Choose from a selection of books, videos, online guides, and more. Additionally, join Owl Brand Discovery Kits on Facebook by searching for our name and join the community to stay up to date on the most current events and news about the subject of dissecting, teaching, or gathering owl pellets for education. Owl Brand Supply Company is a Wyoming corporation and complies with all state and federal laws and health codes. For more information, visit us online or call 877-570-3405.

Exploring Prey & Predator Relationships

Owl Pellet Essentials Guide for Teachers  

The Barn Owl Discovery Guide is a perfect companion to exploring predator and prey relationships, raptor studies, and owl pellet dissection...

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