The Natural Stuff Collection

Jonathan McGowan's Natural History Collections

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34a159 viewsBirds cannot get rid of solid waste in the same way as reptiles or mammals can. Birds that eat flesh and bones but do not have a gizzard to grind down hard material need to eject the large hard parts in the form of a pellet, the same way as it went in.

Birds of prey, crows, gulls, herons etc all regurgitate pellets and this is a buzzard pellet with the remains of a mole. Moles and shrews are distasteful to mammals but birds do not have a very good sense of taste, and especially as they often swallow the animal whole, they do not pick around at the skin that has the poison glands.
34b159 viewsA black headed gull pellet has been ejected on a bridge wall.
35278 viewsTwo pheasant chicks were just a few days from hatching but were abandoned by the mother as the others moved off. I carefully removed them from the egg to show how they are inside. The yellow is the egg yolk. The birds are fully downed and have small feathers as they do not remain in the nest like many other bird species but need to walk about with parent soon after that have hatched.
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