Thursday, 13 December 2012

Creatures of the Night

Longer nights these days mean plenty of opportunity to learn about nocturnal animals.

To have a first-hand experience of it, Tiger and I went for a dusk walk in the woods nearby to find out what we could see and hear.

It was very quiet and we did not see any moving animals.  The sun set very soon so it became very dark and cold very quickly.

We decided that it was a better idea to head home and read about the night animals instead.

Although we didn't see any live animals on our night walk, we were able to get hold of a few skulls of noctural creatures to examine and identify: muntjac deer, roe deer, badger, fox.

We then decided to focus on one specific animal to study: the owl.

Even within the owl family, there are so many species that we had to zoom in on the one that we are most familiar with: the barn owl.  In the spring summer nights, we often hear the barn owl calling from the nearby woods.

Obviously, just watching videos or reading about the owl would not be enough so I bought some barn owl pellets to embark on the classic owl pellets dissection project:

The preparation process was quite involved and slightly gross.  First you have to let the pellets soak in water in order to loosen them up.

After about an hour of soaking, you then have to separate the pellets out carefully to pick the bones and remains out with gloves and tweezers.

Then you have to rinse the bones out several more times and lay the pieces out to dry completely.  Only then will you have clean bones to work with.  Tiger was keen to sort and classify the different types of bones.

Once the bones have been placed into different piles, we used an identification sheet to help us identify them.  We found bones from voles, rats, shrews, frogs, mice, and weasels.

This post is linked up to:
1) Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop #41
2) Homeschool Mother's Journal: December 14, 2012
3) Collage Friday - How did We do All of That?
4) TGIF Linky Party #58
5) It's a Wrap
6) Weekly Wrap-Up: No Words
7) Look What We Did: December Link-Up
8) Share It Saturday
9) Sunday Showcase - Making the Most of Today with Our Children
10) Science Sunday: Kangaroo Pouch


  1. Those woods look so beautiful at night...and you guys are brave for venturing in in the dark. :)

  2. Great job on your owl dissection!

  3. What a great unit study! You are brave to do the "pellet experiment"! My boys would love it ;)

  4. Wow! We have not dissected an owl pellet yet. I do hear it is kind of gross but I still look forward to doing it.

  5. We did owl pellets a couple of weeks ago, and I agree, it was a bit gross, but my kids were fascinated! Ok, I was too. . . lol

  6. How fun! I love your great ideas. We also have don owl pellets~ It's pretty cool! I would love to have you stop by ans share at Share It Saturday!

  7. I love the resources you used - and owl pellets are always such fun!!

  8. The owl pellet dissection sounds fun and also pretty nasty. Some of kids would definitely go for that. :-)

  9. Wonderful! What a great hands on learning project!

  10. We dissected a fake owl pellet once, and while the process of dissecting owl pellets might be gross, I'm betting they remember it for years to come. My kids still talk about our fake one. Next time I'm getting a real one though :)

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!


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