Someone’s Been Eating Rodents

When hiking, it is very important to keep an eye out for bird pellets or animal droppings so you can collect them and analyze their contents. I typically carry some ziplock bags for storage, leaving some air in them to protect the contents while in my backpack. Below are some photos of what I believe are bird pellets that I collected on a recent walk. Bird pellets are made of indigestible matter (in this case primarily bones and fur) that are regurgitated by birds. I often see them beneath large trees where birds may roost, but in this case they were on a stone wall.

As you can see, this bird was primarily eating rodents. The bulk of the pellets was made of fur, but portions of the stronger bones, like the jaws and teeth, were still intact within the pellets. I did also find bits of beetle carapace, perhaps an hors d’oeuvr, as well. It may be interesting to note that there are no native rodents on the island, although mice and rats have been here for hundreds of years now. Of course, any migratory bird may also be used to eating rodents back on the continent where they are native.

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