Large raptor/owl pellet casting

Tervish

Chirping
Jul 8, 2020
39
111
99
SW WA, PNW
So I went out to see the chickens this morning, and saw something odd on the clear panel roof of the run . Turns out it was a large pellet cast from a bird of prey! We have owls, hawks and eagles aplenty here and I suppose it could have been any of those. It must have been a fairly large bird though since the pellet was about 5 1/2 inches long.

So is this psychological warfare against my chickens? :lau I think it would be fairly intimidating to have a predator deposit the remains of a previous meal in plain view overhead...
 

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CluckerFamily

Enabler
5 Years
Feb 14, 2016
10,397
61,029
1,131
Wisconsin
I'm not sure that is an owl pellet. Owl pellets are mostly hair and bones since they can't digest those parts of their prey. I love finding owl pellets and seeing how many mice they ate. Owl pellets are technically barf.
I think eagles and hawks would poop like birds since they don't eat bones.

Have you tried cutting it open to see if it is an owl pellet? It will be bones and fur.
Or if it is another predator's poop instead?
 

Tervish

Chirping
Jul 8, 2020
39
111
99
SW WA, PNW
It is definitely a pellet, I'll try to dissect it a bit tomorrow. It is not feces, it appears to be tight packed fur, and I think I saw some bone.

Oh, and hawks and eagles do also make pellets. On doing some research, herons and some shorebirds do as well!
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,623
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Holts Summit, Missouri
That is a fecal pellet. Most material I can ID from image is fibrous plant parts. There can still be bones if pooper is an omnivore. If bones present, they will show obvious signs of crushing and under a microscope will like show signs of digestion.
 

Tervish

Chirping
Jul 8, 2020
39
111
99
SW WA, PNW
Really? I can't imagine what could get on that roof just to poop on a slippery steep surface. And it would have left muddy prints if so.

There are Google images that show hawk and owl pellets that look like my sample, especially the very fresh and not weathered ones. That pellet showed up between dusk last night and 10am today. Yes, a couple of bits of grass stuck to it when I used a long handled rake to pull it off the roof and it hit the ground.

I tried to push on it with the rake to see if it would break up a bit to show the inside, but it was too firm. Then it started raining so I decided to leave it til tomorrow. Maybe a sharp knife will cut it open.
 

Tervish

Chirping
Jul 8, 2020
39
111
99
SW WA, PNW
I finally got around to poking further at my mystery pellet thing and remain as confused as ever.

So no bones at all, and indeed it seemed to be mostly plant fibers I guess. There were several firm round bits inside, and I pulled the largest few out to the side (pointed at by the weed forensic tool. The largest was the size of a large blueberry. Upon smushing it with the tool, it seems to be grey fur.

I have found an owl pellet in the yard before, but it was definitely an owl pellet with a cool rodent skull and other bones. This clearly is not. I would say the whole pellet is about the size of waste produced by my 45 pound dog (but this is not hers!). I remain completely baffled as to what could produce that in that location. Surely raccoon poop is not that big? I don't think anything bigger than a raccoon could get up there.

I need a game cam on my run roof I guess, or at least nearby!
 

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