Whose scat is dat?

The Little Who Dats, dat’s whose.

Oh yes, the Little Who Dats are sitting prettily upon their nest and obviously consuming everything their parents provide them.

And they’re as adorable as any baby you might want to see; but if you’ve ever spent time with a toddler, there’s really nothing adorable about changing a dirty diaper.

It’s the same way with baby owls, except they don’t wear diapers.  Evidently, Mr. and Mrs. Who Dat keep a very tidy nest, kicking the baby owl poop right out onto the ground.

This recent discovery about Great Horned Owl behavior was made when I wandered under the Old Oak Tree and noticed what appeared to be piles of poop everywhere. My twisted mind immediately recalled a children’s book about potty training called Everybody Poops.  Remember it?  Made me wonder if they hike their tail feathers over the edge of the nest before doing their business.

Curious about the very dry, neat little piles, I dared a closer look.

Upon inspection, I saw what looked like a ball of fur.  Another clump looked like bones and feathers.  Incredibly, the indigestible remains were compacted into dried pellets of fur, bones, and feathers. Okay, gross but interesting all the same, and from that I confirmed what I imagined they eat–mice and small birds.

Amazingly enough, there was no emanating odor that kept me from learning a little more about their diet.  Why was there no odor?  Because the little piles are not actually owl poop.  They are innocuous pellets of the indigestible parts–pure fur, feathers, and bones.  My mind put on the brakes, came to a screeching halt, and backed up to a time when I took the kids on a field trip to Wildlife Gardens, where they kept an owl in an aviary.  THAT is where we learned about this phenomenon.  And there I was going on and on in my addle brain about owl poop.  As I correctly recalled, the owls eat their small prey whole, digest the good parts, and then regurgitate the bones, fur, and feathers.  So, what I thought was scat was really not Dat scat at all. They are called “owl pellets”!

From observing my wise tree-dwelling visitors over the past couple of months, I’ve learned that Great Horned Owls are not true homeowners, preferring to sublet a nest from Hawks or Crows.  That’s why the nest appears too small for such large birds.  I’ve also learned that both parents take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the young, and the eggs hatch at around four weeks.  Mr. and Mrs. Owl are also very protective of their young and will attack invaders.  In the photo below, one of the parent owls is seen sitting on a branch not far from the nest.  One of the them can be seen sitting there, standing guard, at all times in daylight hours.

The owlets will learn to fly when they are about ten weeks old, which should be any day now.  However, owls are nocturnal, so they must be learning to fly at night, as I have yet to see them leave the nest during my day-time visits.

One day soon, though, I will check on the Two Little Who Dats of the Old Oak Tree at Camp Dularge, and the little sub-letters will have flown the coop, leaving nothing behind but piles of Who Dat Scat, which isn’t really scat at all.

It’s upchuck.

Amazing.

And,

well,

kinda

gross.

Your Who Dat Watcher,

BW

You may also like...

Comments

Whose scat is dat? — 41 Comments

  1. Just Imagine…Animal Planet will soon have their newest series “OSI” (Owl Scene Investigation) starring The Who Dat’s with narration by Bayou Woman.

      • Hey, I’m working as a promoter and talent agent here. I do expect 15%. Joking aside…I think the “Who Dats” writings have been very informative.

        • Is that 15% negotiable? Next time one of those producers calls me, I’ll certainly direct them to you so you can wheel and deal a contract for me. Last one that called wanted me to be a “Cajun Wife”, which is a series that might be out next year! No, I’m neither Cajun nor the wife of a Cajun!

          • 15% non-negotiable! Have you never heard the phrase, ”the magic of T.V.”? We can turn you into a Cajun with little effort, Cher. See, I don’t have a drop of French in me, but I know that term of endearment. It will be a piece of cake. You’ve lived on the bayou long enough to have the accent down without any coaching. I CRINGE when I hear some big time actors trying to duplicate a Cajun accent. You cook like a Cajun (most of the time anyway, however, you can’t be making any of that “Roux-less Gumbo. [Blu I know you’ve got my back on this one] ). And the best part…you’re intelligent. I do believe T.V. News crews TRY to find the least intelligent people around to interview after a natural disaster. (That’s NATION WIDE not just in Louisiana) I digress… you’ve got my number…It’s doable! LOL!

            • I know all that is true, Steffi, and that is part of the reason I could not go along with them. It felt too much like a farce. I’m not going to act ignorant or uneducated just to make a TV show. I’m not an actress, now, am I? Now, if the History Channel wants to put me on the boat with Liz and let me drive while she shoots, HOT DOG, let’s go!!!!!

              • YIPEE!!!!! Someone intelligent WITH scruples! OK, I understand you turning them down, but I’ll miss the 15%! LOL!!

              • I don’t have the time to do a new post about the State Master Plan, but that is the topic of the radio show Saturday morning at 8. We will be live in Pontchatoula, judging the Ya Ya Gumbo Cook Off!!! It’s tough work, but somebody’s gotta do it! Tune in live from the Home Page if you can! That’s an invitation to everyone!!!

              • Ohhhh, you poor thing. Imagine being “forced” to judge a gumbo cook off. 🙂 Need help?

                Have fun.

  2. That is the regurgitated stuff the parents ate they do that all the time but they also puke some stuff up for owletts to consume…..

    Fish are biting and it is warm here….

    Getting ready to get ready to yak…

    • Once again, I forgot to confer with the bird puke expert, Blufloyd! A man of much knowledge and excellent fishing skills! Let it be known that BW is never too proud to admit she does not know it all. So, I stand corrected! It’s the parents that made the mess in my yard and not the poor, innocent babies! I feel much better knowing this fact, Blu!! Thank you so much : ) (Now, I’m left wondering how the parents can practice selective puking, know what I mean?)

  3. Fascinating! I live on/near a semi-wild (as in unbuiltup so far) area. My cats have generously offered some of their food to the raccoons and possums brought to my place by their parents, who probably dined here when they were little ones.

    I figure there may even be arrows in the nearby woods directing humgry critters to the free food.

    • “I figure there may even be arrows . . . directing hungry critters to the free food.” You can COUNT on that!!! I’m sure they tell each other that the buffet is on at Sue’s house, lol!

  4. I am enjoying the story of the Who Dats and I think it would make a great childrens book. You have the photos and are watching the story unfold. It would be great.

    By the way, I am NOT going to be eating a cookie when I check in next time. UGH.

  5. Great writing and pics, Cuzzy. They are so cute and the parent looks positively stern about getting too close. Really interesting. So now I’m thinking I don’t really want seafood for supper anymore. Actually, I don’t want supper at all. Will space my reading appropriately next time. Just kiddin’ with ya!

  6. Wonderful photos and great information. Instead of putting a “not safe for work” note at the top of these blogs, you could put “not safe for mealtime”!

    I’ve got to tell Gué about these latest pics – I know she’ll want to see them.

    Speaking of mealtime – I have an adventure coming up this weekend. I’m off to the Rabbit Festival in Iowa! There’s a rabbit cookoff, about 400 bunnies exhibited, and good music – Mamou Playboys and Geno Delafouse. Going home by way of the SW coast – got to see me some cheniers!

    • Nowt hat you mention it, I haven’t heard from her in a while. Need to drop her a line myself. Oowee! Sounds like you’re off on another adventure that will spark lots of creative writing ideas!! I’m happy for ya. Rabbit Festival, eh? Sounds like it should make you quite hoppy!!! Sorry, couldn’t resist! SW Coast? Which coast exactly might that be with cheniers? Of LA? Linda, have you ever been to the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center? http://www.wetlandcenter.com/

      • What a gorgeous and interesting place. I’ve not heard of it – but 25 miles from Dallas? Uh…. probably not going to be at the top of my list. Unless I stopped there on my way up to Oklahoma the next time I go, which might be a possibility. As a matter of fact… let me go look at something…

        Yep. Seagoville is due south of Melissa, which is the prairie where my great-great-great-grandmother camped the year before they gave it up and headed to Iowa. I’ll be going that direction again, and will make it a point to schedule things so I can stop by Seagoville. Thanks for the tip!

        And I’m back home – while you were judging gumbo, I was eating rabbit two dozen ways. Big fan of rabbit boudin balls, now. 😉

        • My brother lives in Seagoville and it is not too far from us. I have been by the wetland center a few times. Last time was last year and I noticed it wasn’t as wet as it should have been because we were in the middle of that 100º + drought! But, it is still a nice place and there were lots of different types of birds/fowl to be seen from the highway.

          I be there is enough water there now though. Places in Dallas/Ft.Worth got up to 4″ of rain in 15 minutes tonight!! And I just heard thunder rumbling and rain or hail hitting the window ac. There are some nasty storms heading our way but, I am not going to complain about the rain. I learned my lesson last summer!

          • Well, would you look at this? I stumble upon a wetlands web site, which leads to Shore and Cammy finding some common ground. I think it’s pretty dog gone cool that Shore knows that her GGGGmother camped in a particular area before packing it up for Iowa!!! So, I can’t wait to see what that blog post brings about! Thanks for the input—both of you!

  7. Awwwww….. lookit the babies!

    A lady I know here at work, in another department, is going to enjoy reading this. She volunteers at the Birds of Prey Center here.

    • Hi Gue! Great to hear from you. Sorry I haven’t been able to keep up our email pen pal letters! But this morning, they spread their wings, and that spread looks to be 3 feet across already. There is just no room for them in that nest, so I guess they better be learning to fly pretty quick or fall to the ground for lack of room! Please feel free to share with her. Today, on our wetland tour, we saw about six osprey!!!!!

  8. I don’t see anything weird about investigating owl upchuck. Then, again, some folks have their doubts about my sanity, anyway.

  9. Rabbits in Iowa hmmmm I be looking this up Iowa is over the river from here. I am going to be real close on Saturday too.

  10. Oh fudge I forgot about Iowa, La… you know the rabbit breeders were or are headquartered in Bloomington Il. We got bunnie and chicks and started pullets at the farm store….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *