About this Event
In this special course at the Natural History Museum, London, Susanna will lead you into the wonderful world of barn owl pellets. Susanna will introduce you to the different owls and small mammals in the UK and talk about barn owl pellets and why it is useful for scientists to study them.
Many owls cannot digest the fur and bones of the small mammals which they eat. They swallow their prey whole, absorb all the nutrients from the flesh and then, about 6 hours later, cough up a few lumps containing everything which is no use to them. These lumps are called pellets.
We can dissect these pellets, acting as a detective, to find out what they have been eating. You do not need to know anything about owls or owl pellets before you come, all will be revealed! It is like going on a treasure hunt or doing a lucky dip, as no one has any idea what you will find inside each pellet, but be warned, once you start getting into pellets, it is very difficult to stop!
On this course, you will take apart some barn owl pellets and discover how to identify whose bones are inside, finding out which small mammals the owls have been eating: voles, mice or shrews. There will be some taxidermy small mammals for you to look at, so you can see what they look like and work out where the different bones belong.
You will have a microscope on your desk in the Natural History Museum, to examine the tiny bones like a scientist. You will be able to take photos and take the bones home, so you never forget your day!
View a full detailed course overview .
This course will be held during half term on the 15th of February at 13:00 – 15:00 in the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity at the Natural History Museum, London.
Please note, this event is designed for families and is child friendly. There will be another Owl Pellet Workshop organised at the Natural History Museum in March which will be aimed at a more senior experienced audience.
There will be 10 work benches to accomodate 10 groups. The benches will be set up to accomodate one adult with two children, two adults with one child or one adult and one child. We ask for a minimum age of 8 years old to attend the workshop and a maximum of two children per group. Refreshments will be provided! Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Susanna has been involved in wildlife education for over 12 years. She has an extensive private collection of natural history objects relating to local wildlife. Explore Susanna’s website here. Since 2010, Susanna has used The Nature Collection, to create and run workshops in primary schools and nurseries in Surrey & South West London, for over 26,000 children, connecting the local wildlife to topics in the science national curriculum, such as Adaptations, Bones, Classification, Food Webs, Habitats and Life Cycles. Her passion is to inspire people of all ages, particularly children, to discover the intricate detail and wonders of the nature on our doorstep. In 2018, Susanna created a set of wildlife resources for the leading schools’ catalogue, TTS, to be used in the classroom and at home. During lockdown, she volunteered with the Primary Science Teaching Trust to develop some learning resources about UK wildlife, which are free for anyone to download and enjoy. In 2022 she began to volunteer at the Mammal Society and has created an excellent array of free resources for the Mammal Youth Hub. She has created an Introduction to Barn Owl Pellets for the Mammal Youth Hub and is currently working on an extensive Photographic Guide to the Small Mammal Bones in Barn Owl Pellets for the more serious mammologist. Susanna lives near Richmond Park and in 2010, wrote a book of Family Trails, containing 5 walks each with 20+ items to spot on the way. She has often worked with the Friends of Richmond Park to run workshops for their young Discoverers section.
For booking terms and conditions .
*Please note - If not enough delegates book on to this course it may be postponed with two weeks notice, this is because we are a small charity and need to make sure our events are viable.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, United Kingdom
GBP 5.00 to GBP 20.00