[mou] Correction on owl balls

Browning, Jimmie L COL RES USAR USARC jimmie.browning at us.army.mil
Wed Apr 2 09:47:52 CDT 2008

I started birding during my college days in the early 70's in Kansas.  I think owl balls is a perfectly acceptable term.  I understand it better than owl pellets which I assume to be from the colon, going back to my college days in examining coyote pellets.   All of my Minnesota in-laws were surprised to know that the democratic party is not referred to as the DFL in most other states.  And a parking garage will always be a parking garage to me and to most of the rest of the country and not a "ramp".  But when in Rome....Your response to this phenomenon was very tactful and well put.  Obviously you do better than I at this.  Thanks for your report, I found it very interesting.

----- Original Message -----
From: Thomas Maiello <thomas at angelem.com>
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 8:09
Subject: [mou] Correction on owl balls
To: mnbird to submit messages <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net>, mou-net at moumn.org

> 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  
> lessons.
> I love this community!
> Thomas Maiello
> Angel Environmental Management, Inc.
> Maple Grove, MN
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