Last meal

Yesterday I found this owl pellet under a spreading hemlock tree by a river. There were a few others as well so at some point an owl used this tree for a while. No idea how long they’ve been there, but I’ve never seen one before so I shot it. Of course. Without magnification you can easily tell there are bones in it, but you can’t see the teeth in the tiny skull. Oddly I also found some deer bones washed up on the river bank not far from this.

Owls, like many birds, have two-chambered stomachs. The second chamber is commonly called the gizzard and holds indigestible material like bone, fur and feathers. The gizzard crushes it into a hard little ball which is eventually hawked up. IRL it’s about 1.5 inches long. We have lots of barred owls and great horns around and it could have come from either I suppose.

Scientists and students use these to track what owls eat, where they live and all kinds of other things. I didn’t collect these, but apparently it’s a pretty big business. Who knew?

Specific Feedback Requested

Not sure what can be done to make it better - it is what it is, but fire away.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Lumix G9
PL 45mm f/2.8 macro
f/10 | 1/25 sec | ISO 200

Lr processed for a small crop, increase exposure, texture & clarity. Sharpening & nr. This is filtered sunlight and a natural vignette. A little darkening of the bones lying directly on the pine needles.


Amazing – I’ve never seen one! Good documentation! I guess it must be the remains of a small rodent.

1 Like

Kris, I always loved to eat chicken gizzards, but I think maybe I have just lost my appetite! I too haven’t seen this before, so it is quite educational. I appreciate the image and the write up you provided. I am a bit more educated now. You are blessed to have owls in your area.

1 Like

Thanks ladies, this was my first time encountering one in the wild and luckily the friend who was with me as just as intrigued. It’s a little gruesome, but it’s how nature works and part of what keeps me out there exploring.

1 Like

Kris: Not your usual photographic fare but it certainly tells a good nature story. Nice find and thanks for the info. >=))>

1 Like

Thanks Bill. I’ve learned so much about nature through my photography and I love to share it. I hope it doesn’t feel show-offy, that’s not how I intend to come across. Rather to share what I found interesting and the new stuff I’ve learned.

And don’t worry…more lichen pictures on the way. Was just out in the driveway and found some beauties. I never knew how much life a gravel drive could hold. I can easily spend hours just on the edges of the driveway with the macro rig. :crazy_face: