Friday, October 30, 2009

Scat! And guts!

Warning: if you are easily grossed out, if scenes of death and slaughter disturb you, click on past this post. Come back tomorrow; I'll have more pleasant subject matter.

It rained all afternoon, a steady drizzle. It wasn't too cold, though, so we bundled up and went for a walk along the Mud Bay dike.

The trail from the parking lot to the dike runs beside a field of tall grasses where we have often seen hawks hunting. Along this trail, we found several lots of scat, full of feathers.

Still with me? Good. Can you identify these samples? What bird or animal left them?

I think this first one may be an owl's pellets. There were several little piles like these; somebody's been having quite a feast. The shaft of a large feather down in the lower left pile was about two inches long.



What bird was the prey? See the entire feathers on the upper right. Sparrow colour, maybe a bit too big for a sparrow, though.

The next pile is about the same size, but the stuff was softer-looking. (I didn't touch it to confirm.) It looked like it had been sitting in the rain for a longer time. There were still feather shafts in it, but also blobs which reminded me of intestines.



I think it just might be a coyote or a fox, and the meal was a larger bird, judging by the feather shafts.

What do you think?
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