Poppy: What Does an Owl Eat?

Hi!  Welcome to my Poppins Book Nook post!  This month our theme is The Great Outdoors, so grab a book about camping, fishing, the woods or any outdoor theme and come join in!

Because of Firecracker and Rose’s love of animals, we chose Avi’s Poppy as our book for the theme this month.  We are actually exploring Poppy with the help of a great literature unit study from Moving Beyond the Page.  While I won’t be sharing a full review of Moving Beyond the Page until after the Fourth of July, I thought that now was the perfect time to share a science exploration that was sparked from the book Poppy and from our curriculum.

poppy pinnable

If you’re not familiar with Poppy, I’m going to tell you a little bit about the story now.  Poppy is the second book in Avi’s series Tales from the Dimwood Forest.  In this book, Poppy watches someone she loves die at the hands of the mice family’s  tyrannical ruler, Mr. Ocax.  Mr. Ocax is, ironically, a great horned owl who has proclaimed himself protector of the mice from evil porcupines.  After a series of events following the death of Poppy’s beloved friend Ragweed, Poppy begins to question whether Mr. Ocax is truly protecting the mice from anything or if he is the villain that they need protection from.

This is a great tale of adventure, courage and finding that sometimes those who proclaim themselves in power are not the ones who should be.

After Mr. Ocax eats Ragweed, there is a great description of what happens after an owl eats a mouse:

Mr. Ocax belched, bringing up a pellet of Ragweed’s bones and fur as well as the earring, which he had been unable to digest.  The pellet fell to the ground to lie among a large pile of other pellets.

Later  when  Poppy and her father go to Mr. Ocax to make a petition to him, she finds that she doesn’t want to look at Mr. Ocax.  Instead:

…she glanced at the base of Mr. Ocax’s tree.  There lay what appeared to be a mound of pebbles.  Gradually a ghastly realization came over her.  What she was seeing was a mound of Mr. Ocax’s upchucked pellets, the closely packed and undigested bits of fur and bone from his dinners.  The vision made her blood turn cold.

In fact, as Mr. Ocax and Poppy’s father continue to talk, she finds her eyes continually drawn to the pile of pellets, especially as she sees something glittering in the pile and realizes that it’s Ragweed’s earring.  In fact, before she leaves Mr.Ocax’s perch, she steals the earring back to have as her own.

I know what you’re thinking.  Now you want to really dissect owl pellets too!  Before you get started though, there are some links for learning more about the Great Horned Owl’s diet:

Once you start reading about the Great Horned Owl, you may find yourself wanting to branch out and create a whole unit study and/or lapbook about the animals.  If so, here are some resources for that:

Once you’ve started reading and researching about owls, of course, you’re going to want your own pellet to dissect.  Our curriculum package came with one owl pellet.  However, I had two children eager to discover what was inside their very own owl pellet, so we ended up ordering from Amazon.  I ordered this Student Owl Pellet Kit.  It came with three pellets, a magnifying glass, tweezers, a nice bone chart and booklet as well as a sturdy cardboard box to store everything in.

digging into their owl pellets

I was totally grossed out, but the children had no hesitation digging into their owl pellets to see what they could find.  Rose even compared her owl pellet dissection to a “treasure hunt.”

After the dissection was over,  Firecracker decided that he wanted to get all the fur off the bones and then glue his bones into a picture, so we looked for some resources for the best way to clean up our rodent bones.  We found Jake’s Bones:  Finding Owl Pellets to be our best resource for cleaning the bones so we decided to leave them in a peroxide soak for a few days.

peroxide soak


They sat on my kitchen counter for about three days before we drained them onto paper towels.  After that, all the hair and fur attached fell out easily….and yes, I was grossed out each time I passed by the collection of bones and fur.

By this time, Rose has completely lost interest in the project.  I let her clean bones set out for several days before I finally through them away.  Monkey, on the other hand, tries his best to assemble a mouse skeleton.  However, he confuses the idea of making a picture of the mouse with the bones and assembling the skeleton.  His results are so cute though that I don’t bother to tell him that he’s gotten it completely wrong.


So, that’s about all we did with our owl pellets.  After that we got back to the book and worked through it with our curriculum.  What did you do with “The Great Outdoors”? Don’t forget to visit some of our co-hosts above to see what they did for the outdoors, and link up your own posts by following the Inlinkz button below!

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Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

Poppins Book NookGreat Outdoors Bundle Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win a copy of the classic storybook Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping as no one brings that certain flair and fun to the great outdoors like Amelia Bedelia. The winner will also win an Uncle Milton Nat Geo Starry Night Lantern so whether you live in the countryside or in the city your child can experience some of the great outdoors while reading your storybook.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom’s disclosures found here {http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/disclosures/}.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next month’s theme is Ye Old Pirates!  If I can get the children to cooperate we’re going to read either Treasure Island or  How to Train Your Dragon: How to Be a Pirate, so I’m just going to have to see how it goes!

*Clip art by Melon Headz


11 thoughts on “Poppy: What Does an Owl Eat?

  1. eeewwww! That is so gross! LOL Mine do some pretty gross things, but I can never get myself to allow it in the house, much less take pictures! You are superMOM!!! Great post. My children love it. They’ve all had to look over my shoulder to take a look and comment.

  2. We lucked out and found owl pellets on the ground under a nest in a tree in a school playground – another parent was using a stick to pick through one of the pellets, and we photographed what he found…without having to have them on our kitchen counter. You are a very dedicated teacher!

  3. You are MUCH braver than I am. I think my middle two would freak out if I put owl pellets in front of them, LOL. My oldest and youngest would love it though.

    1. Rose acted like the idea was completely revolting, but when I sat her down in front of one, she was more excited about it than Firecracker!!

  4. I love your book choice for this month’s Poppins Book Nook theme of ‘The Great Outdoors’! I will definitely be picking it up to share with the twins. My oldest dissected an owl pellet a few years ago, so I feel your pain on the experience 😉 Thanks for sharing this week at the Thoughtful Spot!

  5. What fun! I love when you can find an activity that is both gross and exciting. My boys would love to dissect owl pellets one day. Thanks for sharing how to pair this with a great book.

  6. First of all, I had no idea that one could get owl pellets from amazon.. amazing!
    I love that you cleaned the bones and reconstructed his skeleton, that is a great idea!

    Thank you for helping to bring a spoonful of reading fun to the Poppins Book Nook this month!

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