El Tecolote © 2014 . All rights reserved.



El Tecolote

Exploring the vast volcanic landscape I often come across owl pellets.  The owl catches its prey (usually a mouse, vole or woodrat) and swallows it whole. Owls cannot digest fur, teeth and bones so the following day, before he goes in search of his next meal, he coughs up a pellet.  I collect the pellets, dissect, clean, sort the bones and make paleo mosaics. I love that from a distance a paleo girl appears to be an alluring seductress but when you get up close you see she is made of rodent bones.


Great Horned Owl, Tumalo, Bemd, OR



Owl Pellets




Four braids and a squirrel




Special thanks to Robert and Gretchen Pederson for photos of the Common Barn owl (Tyto alba)  and the Great Horned owl  (Bubo virginanus)

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  1. Ellen Coffin

    Love the owl photos, El Tecolate, and the radiant diversity of bones in the Raven! Finally, a blog worth reading!

  2. Joseph Adorno

    Intriguing, Where do find so many pellets from owls?
    What is the process like to clean and prepare them?

  3. Thanks Ellen and Joseph, I appreciate what you both wrote. I find the owl pellets on hikes especially at the base of cliffs and in canyons. I dissect them, wash the bones, soak them in a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide for a week or so, then dry and sort them .
    I am obsessed with making them- I kind of go into a trance!

  4. Mary Hanley

    LOVE THIS!!!! I am loving being witness to the whole process. It’s magical!

  5. Thanks Mary! I’m excited to be working on a new way of using bones where I stitch them onto fabric. I’m also working on ideas for how I will use the bones of my three beloved cats Catalpa, Chacho and El Capitan. They had been buried for 3 or 4 years and it made me sad that they were just there underground so I dug them up and it was better than I thought. There was no fur , only bones . I can’t wait to make something from them.

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