[mou] Correction on owl balls

Thomas Maiello thomas at angelem.com
Wed Apr 2 09:09:02 CDT 2008

Well, we are certainly an open, sharing and communicating internet  
family, aren't we.  My goodness.

After sufficient feedback on my use of the term "owl ball" which is  
what the Oklahoma University community at least one time called them  
back in the 70's, I absorbed the prolific information I received from  
feedback responses and did a little research to look into what exactly  
is that thing that owl's up-chuck is called.  I won't go into all the  
details of what it is and why, and when and all the research done on  
them, where to acquire them for instructional purposes, etc., etc.,  
etc..  And I might add there is a lot out there on those subjects.   
Let me get to my point.

It appears that there are a number of terms to describe the furry or  
feathery mass that owl's up-chuck (please allow me the use of this  
term rather than"regurgitation" as I am attempting to be "light").   
The term - Most common by far is "owl pellet".  Never, I repeat,  
never, are they called "owl balls".  Never - except in Oklahoma in the  
70's - but that is another story altogether.  Some respondents offered  
"castings" - an accurate and acceptable term but would likely not land  
the direct punch of "owl pellet" to the birding, scientific, or retail  
communities - at least the internet ones.  The term "bezoar" was by  
far the most interesting offering and my research indicates that this  
term more commonly applies to material that remains in the digestive  
tract rather than being rendered to ground.  Still, I think if that is  
what everyone in your area knows the "pellets" as, it works for me and  
apparently for you - plus it is definitely "local color" which paints  
the uniqueness of our worlds.

 From all of this I am again amazed at the awkwardness of the American  
form of the English language.  My recent marriage and frequent  
communications with my step-15 and 18 year old daughters and wife have  
shown me that if the goal is communication, surrendering to exacting  
terms and language is best served to simply allow the other to get  
your point.  What one calls a tree another can call a conifer or a  
plant or a fir or a trunk - especially in the context of what caused  
the crumpled fender and hood to my borrowed car.  Context is vital in  
effective communication.

To put a majority of the respondents to my posting at ease and  
expressing my appreciation and gratitude to your loving feedback,  
allow me to rephrase my self: "My friendly neighborhood Barred Owl  
dropped an owl pellet yesterday."

Another learning opportunity.  Note to self.  And thank you for the  

I love this community!

Thomas Maiello
Angel Environmental Management, Inc.
Maple Grove, MN

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