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Ask The Naturalist: What's That Weird Ball Coming Out Of That Bird's Mouth?

Stashed in: Birds!, Owls!, Owls

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Guess what, mouse skeletons can't be digested by anyone :p So what do you do? Send it to the bird garbage compactor!

Owls tend to show 100 percent of their prey in their pellets, whereas hawks show on average, closer to 70 percent.

Why should this be? Most hawk species use their feet and beak to tear apart their prey, then they swallow the pieces bit by bit. Owls swallow the prey animal whole, allowing their gizzard — that deft sculptor of pellets — to use its acids and muscles to create a pellet that is more fully representative of the food actually eaten by the raptor.

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