Owl Forensic Investigations at Avon Heath

Owl Forensics

Yesterday at Avon Heath Country Park they held an Owl Forensics session in their education centre which is something I have wanted to take the kids to for some time.

Their mission should they choose to accept it was to uncover what the owl has been eating.

Not being scared of a challenge they were keen to get stuck in, albeit with gloves on at first which soon got ditched as they made work quite tricky.

With the aid of a magnifying glass and with a ranger at hand to help, they had to work out what the Owl had eaten from the undigested remains of their meal – an owl pellet.

Pellets are small, sausage-shaped objects, containing the undigested parts of the birds food which are ejected through the mouth. Pellets do not pass through the intestine of birds and are quite different from droppings and thankfully don’t smell, and are not unpleasant to work with. They consist of things like the bones of birds, mammals and fish, teeth, claws and beaks, insect head parts and wing cases, seed husks etc. These are usually enclosed by softer material like fur, feathers and vegetable fibre.

Owl Forensics

Using a toothpick the kids got work and the initial “urgh” moment was soon replaced by excitement as they found bones, vertebrae, claws and teeth. The more they took the pellet apart the more they found and Isaac was rewarded by a skull from a Shrew which was still remarkably intact – in fact it was so good that the whole class got to look at it under the microscope.

It was fascinating finding out all about the animals such as mice, voles and birds that the Owls feast on and Isaac would have stayed all day if he had the chance, but it was time to head outside for some fresh air as Sebastian was getting bored.

Avon Heath

The great thing about Avon Heath is that they have so much to do for the kids. We managed to spot a sand lizard sunning itself on the grass before heading off into the forest to do some exploring, taking a different path to the one we normally take and stumbling across a brilliant wooden barn like structure.

Avon Heath

We met up with the Charliemoo’s gang and set off exploring. Charlie had a brilliant back pack with him with pots to collect insects in and a book to identify them. Between the boys they managed to capture a water nymph, a bullet ant and even a damselfly.

Avon Heath

According to my phone we walked at least four miles and Sebby managed it all by himself, although I did carry him over a couple of very muddy patches. We were all a little surprised when we realised we had been out on the heath for over 3 hours.

Avon Heath

How they still had energy to play in the park when we got back to the visitor centre I will never know!

Avon Heath run various workshops throughout the year so it is worth keeping an eye on their facebook page for dates and times. We had so much fun we will certainly be joining in with some more as they come up.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monkey and Mouse


18 thoughts on “Owl Forensic Investigations at Avon Heath

  1. I loooove this! It’s great to get kids so into nature activities, dissecting owl pellets is very interesting and quite rewarding when you actually work out what they have been eating. Great discoveries on the heath too, we love looking for insects too, hoping to go out again soon. Love all the photos, your kids are definitely full of awesome energy! Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

  2. Chloe says:

    What a fabulous place. It’s so brilliant that they were so intrigued by it all that you were out for over three hours. Well done to Sebastian for walking the whole time too! It’s really good they’re so into bugs and creepy crawlies and interested in learning about them. There love of nature will be really strong when they’re older. Thank you so much for sharing with #whatevertheweather x

  3. Rachel says:

    This looks absolutely fascinating, it looks as though everyone had an amazing time x
    Rachel recently posted…You Beauty – April BoxMy Profile

  4. Avon Heath looks like a fab place! The children look so focussed collecting and analysing things! Great activities! #Whatevertheweather
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Moscow State CircusMy Profile

  5. Tori Gabriel says:

    This sounds really fascinating (if a bit gross and icky). I am looking forward to when my girls are old enough to really get into things like this.
    Tori Gabriel recently posted…“When I Have Kids I Will Never…..” (Yeah, You Will)My Profile

  6. What a wonderful place, I’m sure my kids would love it:-)
    Camilla @FabFood4All recently posted…5-a-Day Fruit SmoothieMy Profile

  7. Globalmouse says:

    Wow, what an amazing thing to do. I have never heard of owl pellets before!
    Globalmouse recently posted…A family trip to WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Gloucestershire, EnglandMy Profile

  8. This looks great – I am sure I have small boy (and a husband) who would love to study the contents of an owl pellet and collect bugs. Must have been fun for the children to manage 4 miles of walking without complaint 🙂 #WhateverTheWeather

  9. Oh my goodness: “bones, vertebrae, claws and teeth…” amazing!
    What gorgeous collages you have put together too xxx
    Liska @NewMumOnline recently posted…My New Mum Summary of the Last Ten Weeks with BabyMy Profile

  10. Ness says:

    Shame it’s a distance from us as my daughter would love this. We had to pull her away from the microscopes at Clumber Park the other weekend.
    Ness recently posted…Sunday Snap – On Castle RockMy Profile

  11. Anne says:

    That looks like a brilliant day out. The forensics look fascinating and the heath amazing, what a wonderful place to explore, it’s not wonder you walked so far. We’ll have to consider a trip here in the summer.
    Anne recently posted…Medical MysteriesMy Profile

  12. Emma says:

    What a brilliant and educational place. I was obsessed by owls as a small child. To the extent that one day I presented my dad with what I thought was an owl pellet – it turned out to be a cat poop. He was not impressed! 😀
    Emma recently posted…Sunday Photo – Venice by NightMy Profile

  13. Steph says:

    Wow. I need to Google this place, it looks fabulous. I have always had a love of nature, birds and wildlife and I’m keen to get my two girls interested, or at least appreciative too. This looks like a perfect way to do so. Steph xxx

  14. Coombe Mill says:

    I’m sure being out with friends is the key to keeping kids out walking for longer. I must say it doesn’t look like at hardship at Avon health in the sunshine, what a beautiful day you had. Ew to the owl poo but how fascinating too. A real education and one the children will all remember. Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Coombe Mill recently posted…Padstow Tide Times for 9th April 2016My Profile

  15. This place looks fab, and what luck to see a lizard – I haven’t seen one in the UK for years. Looks a brilliant place to spend an afternoon 🙂

  16. Love the idea of that workshop! Wish we lived closer as just our sort of thing #CountryKIds
    Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One recently posted…Picking up sticks at Calke AbbeyMy Profile

  17. This looks fantastic – you guys are always out doing such fun things!

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