Karen Sutton, Crossness Nature Reserve Manager, has a growing collection of Barn Owl pellets creating an ‘interesting’ aroma in her on-site office. These need dissecting to extract and identify the remains (various bones and teeth) of the small mammal prey to be found within them. This will give a picture as to the species and relative numbers of these animals at the reserve, and the data can be compared with previous results. One of the species Karen is keen to check up on is Harvest Mouse, for which the evidence of past occurrence is felt to be inconclusive.
This would make a nice, short project for a biological sciences degree student, or anyone else interested in local mammal populations. Sources of identification information can be made available.
The Mammal Society does run a national owl pellet analysis project
and does have various regionally-based volunteers to whom pellets can be sent, but none of these are in London or Kent, so if we can find a local person to do this that would be much better.
Ffi: Karen Sutton – Crossness Nature Reserve Manager
Tel: 07747 643958