Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Dem Bones

In a wonderful book I was recently reading 'Why Big fierce Animals Are Rare' by Paul Colinvaux, the author says that if you are an animal it is not a good idea to be the same size as someone else's mouth. As I sit dismantling many barn owl pellets I couldn't agree more as the endless voles and shrew bones demonstrate clearly just how effective a predator the barn owl is as it makes it's rounds each evening along the fields. I am working on new artwork for next month's show and need to order all of the bones into pelvises, skulls, femurs, jaws etc so that I can organise them in the piece. It is a long laborious but rather satisfying task.

In France two weeks ago, where I managed to find some owl pellets in a barn, I dismantled them in the hope that there may be evidence of different prey species. I was rather surprised and a little disappointed to find the same key species, mouse, vole, shrew but no sign of lizards. The lizards were everywhere, scuttling about  under bushes and up walls, and it seemed strange that they didn't form a cornerstone of the local owl's diets, perhaps they don't taste nice, or perhaps the pellets I found just happened to not have evidence of lizards ?

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