“An Owl Pellet Investigation” Resources
If you’re using our “Dissecting the Food Web: An Owl Pellet Investigation,” here are some additional resources to make the most of your kit!
Lesson One: The Food Web
- Watch Bird Academy’s videos on the ‘Birds in the Ecology of the Mississippi River Delta‘ or the ‘Birds of the Alaska’s Yukon Delta.‘ Note all the organisms mentioned in the videos, determine their trophic levels, and create a food web.
- Read ‘Don’t Be an Ecological Trap.‘ Then discuss potential disruptions in local food webs and ways your school or yard could be an ecological trap. If you go outside to collect firsthand observation data, here are some tips on Outdoor Teaching with kids.
- Take it a step further by considering how changing habitats affect bird populations with Crossing Boundaries’ Bird’s Eye View of Changing Landscapes. To make it more relevant to this lesson, use eBird’s Explore Data tool to see where certain species are located or which birds are found in your area. If you’re new to eBird, be sure to check our on blog post on Using eBird with Students.
Lesson Two: Digging into Owl Pellets
- Reflect on the dissection by having students or groups compare their findings. What can the different contents of an owl pellet tell us about the owl or its habitat? What are the limitations of what a pellet can tell us? What else would you need to know to make better predictions about the owl and its habitat?
- Develop other scientific literacy skills with the curriculum books Citizen Science: 15 Lessons That Bring Biology to Life, 6-12 and, for high school classrooms, Birds Without Borders. Download a free sample lesson or purchase you own book.
Lesson Three: Predicting Prey
- Information, sounds, and videos on Barn Owls, Great Horned Owls, and Eastern Screech-Owls.
- Watch past or current Bird Cam clips of Barn Owls and Great Horned Owls.
- Go to Macaulay Library’s online collection for other audio and video clips.
- Practice more observation, deduction, and research skills with the Whose Nest Is It? activity.
- Map out your yard or schoolyard with Habitat Network to figure out how to improve your local habitat for owls.
Other Cool Resources
- Going birding? Download the free Merlin Bird ID app to help you and your students identify birds as you go! Here’s a list of our top ten birding apps to use with kids.
- Read our blog post about the benefits of project-based learning.
- Download our most popular free resource, Investigating Evidence, and ignite your students’ curiosity through outdoor observations and citizen science.
- Take our new online course, Integrating Inquiry for Educators: Developing Student Science Practices, and explore the process of inquiry and scientific investigation with emphasis on outdoor teaching and citizen-science participation.