What is an owl pellet?

Pellets give conservationists valuable information about the diet of individual owls. Barn owls, for instance, should be eating about 75% short-tailed field vole in an ideal situation. But if pellets on a study of a pair of birds are shown to contain an average much lower than that, it indicates that the owls are not managing to catch their preferred prey and could point to low vole levels in their territory. This is normally associated with loss of rough grassland vole habitats, and we can then approach landowners in attempt to encourage an increase in these habitats to help this local pair of owls.

Owl pellets are also used by small mammal organisations, like the Mammal Society, as their contents give clues to the presence of rarer small mammals, such as harvest mice.

PLEASE NOTE: I do not supply owl pellets for dissection

If you would like to have fun with ‘virtual’ owl pellets, visit the Kidwings.com web site by clicking here

Here are some charts published in BBC Wildlife Magazine a few years ago - (please note that the pellet exchange is no longer operating)

Owl Pellets

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Barn Owl Pellet

Little Owl Pellet

Tawny Owl Pellet


Independent wildlife educator and owl specialist Ian McGuire