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Life in the Garden: what do owls eat?
Sunday 21 September 2008
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JPEGLife in the Garden: what do owls eat?

NOTIONAL OBJECTIVES :

Analysing owl regurgitation pellets teaches us what these animals eat and therefore their diet.

METHOD OBJECTIVES :

- to dissect an owl regurgitation pellet
- to present one’s result in an organised manner
- to use a identification key from the bones of a regurgitation pellet
- to make a bar chart

MATERIALS :

- owl regurgitation pellets
- bowl, thin pliers
- sheets of drawing paper
- identification key from the bones found in regurgitation pellets (cf. schoolbook)
- photo of a classified content from a regurgitation pellet (cf. schoolbook)

Procedures:

Use the following worksheet:

1. Dissect an owl regurgitation pellet

- Describe the regurgitation pellet: shape, colour, size…
- List the elements composing the pellet. Take off the bones and clean them. Classify them (skull, limb, pelvis, ribs, teeth…)

2. Analyse the regurgitation pellet content

From the photographed pellet content, indicate, justifying the answer, the number of preys eaten by the owl. With the identification key given, establish the name of the eaten animals.

3. Read and make tables

The following table shows the tawny owl’s diet:

Represent the table as in a bar chart.

ASSESSMENT :

Capacity for the pupil:

- to analyse a regurgitation pellet content
- to deduct the owl diet
- to understand and re-use the used methods (dissection, display of results in tables, use of identification keys)

Le campagnol {JPEG}


Jean-Michel Josse professeur de Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre, Lycée Français Charlemagne de Pointe Noire, Congo Brazzaville


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