Barn Owl Pellet Analysis

In 2014, I was lucky enough to find a roost site of a pair of Barn Owls. This gave me the opportunity to collect pellets on a regular basis. Some I dissected myself, others are still sitting in my freezer(!), and, half a dozen were enthusiastically dissected by the children of the Box Moor Trust Wildlife Explorer group. Below, are just a few links to resources I've found helpful or that I've inadvertently put together myself.

Useful Publications & Booklets


Pellet Analysis (Leaflet 20), produced by the Barn Owl Trust: “This leaflet provides all the information you need to analyse Barn Owl pellets in order to determine the birds’ diet.”

The Analysis of Owl Pellets (Mammal Society Occasional Publications) by D.W. Yalden: "This booklet will not only enable you to identify what you find in the pellets of British owls but also shows how the data may be usefully presented and how to estimate the actual weight of food the birds have eaten."

Video of Pellet Dissection



Blog Posts 


….showing photographs and ID features of
  • Field Vole
  • Bank Vole
  • Wood Mouse
  • Harvest Mouse

Week 44: Barn Owl Pellet Dissection & Analysis
The formation of pellets in the owl's ventriculus; recommended resources; the complete contents of a single pellet; teeth/skulls of Bank Vole, Field Vole, Wood Mouse & Harvest Mouse.

Week 46: Winter Sun & Ravens Over Dellfield
The reconstruction of the skeleton of a Field Vole, extracted from and the only food item in a small, single Barn Owl pellet.

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