We’ve talked about how whale poop and leech stomachs are helping us learn more about this planet, but how can bird vomit do the same?

Sure, it sounds unsavory, but sometimes the coolest science comes from some less than pretty places! Stay with us now. This could be fascinating!

The Barking Owl or Winking Owl is a nocturnal bird species native to mainland Australia and parts of Papua New Guinea. The presence of these owls is usually revealed by their barking calls.

Source: Julie Edgley // Flickr

So, let’s dive in.

Over the past two centuries, Australia has seen a drastic decrease in its small mammal species. Because there is very little written historical record of what species density once looked like, it’s difficult for scientists so discern the extent of species die off and what populations used to look like.

Here is where the bird vomit comes in.

Some bird species, raptors, and most notably owls regurgitate pellets consisting of difficult to digest parts of their prey like bones, teeth, and fur. Over time in caves and other sheltered dwellings, these pellets have amassed to create a record of sorts of the types of small mammal species that one inhabited the region around it. It’s actually quite a remarkable process!

For more on this incredible example of investigative biology, we turn to one of our favorite YouTube channels which is completely worth checking out, The Brain Scoop

Beyond the bird vomit…

So there you have it, that is how bird vomit is helping us learn more about this planet!

To me, it’s still an amazing world because the planet we call home is filled with a natural world from which we can constantly learn and grow. There is never, and probably never will be an end to the incredible discoveries we can make about Earth and it’s inhabitants. There is wonder and awe and inspiration in every one of our backyards. It is up to us, though, to recognize and celebrate it!

Be the one who sees beauty in the little–and maybe kinda gross–things, it actually makes the world a much more fascinating place.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

Want to learn more about the amazing natural world?

We have an entire category dedicated to the fantastic creatures of this planet! Click below to check it out!

ANIMALS AT EWC

We have an enormous archive to explore that spans scienceto spaceto art, and beyond! The best way to jump in is to try out our “Surprise Me!” button. It will randomly take you to any one of our great articles and you can explore from there! You experience this by clicking the button in the sidebar or on the link above!
You can join us on our mission to prove that it’s still an amazing world by supporting us on Patreon, where you can also get access to exclusive content. If that isn’t your style, you can help by reading and sharing our content with friends and family. The more eyeballs you can help us reach, the more positivity we can all spread together. Thanks for stopping by today!

SUPPORT US ON PATREON!       CHECK OUT OUR LIBRARY!

 

Notes:

  1. “How Bird Vomit Helps Us Understand History.” YouTube. The Brain Scoop, 03 Nov. 2016. Web. 03 Nov. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=LZ2KGhtDyBk>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV

In this Circle

You’re Probably More Like a Crow than You Thought

25 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

These birds probably live near you, but have you ever noticed just how intelligent they are? No? Well, you’re in for a treat.
Read More

A Closer Look at the Dinosaurs with Us Now!

8 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Are dinosaurs still around today? You probably know that birds and dinosaurs are evolutionary cousins, but do you know how we know that? Here's a deeper look at a piece of knowledge we might normally take for granted!
Read More

A Bird that Sings Like a Dog… And a Camera?

8 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Have you ever heard the song of the lyrebird? These strange birds take the sounds of dogs, cameras, chainsaws, and other birds to create their mating calls!
Read More

A River of Raptors

20 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

If we are looking for inspiration and hope these days, we may only have to look up to find it! There is a river of wonder going unnoticed above us, showing us how the health of our planet is holding up. And thankfully, there's an amazing group of people bringing us these insights.
Read More

It’s Raining Bones! (And That’s a Good Thing!)

10 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

When it comes to animals doing good in the world, vultures may not instantly come to mind. But bearded vultures are some of nature's most underappreciated creatures!
Read More

Pigeons Light Up the Night Sky

7 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What happens when the sky is filled with thousands of pigeons carrying LED lights? The artist Duke Riley is reframing these creatures in a more favorable light and along the way inspiring a little wonder in us all...
Read More

Ghosts in the Night: How Owls Fly Silently

12 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Have you ever wondered how owls fly silently? There's more to it than you may think! These remarkable creatures are yet another example how nature never ceases to amaze us.
Read More

Meet a Living Dinosaur: The Giant Cassowary

7 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Is it possible to find a living dinosaur in some far off corner of the globe? It is if you count the extraordinary, enormous bird called a cassowary!
Read More

How the Flamingo Got Its Pink

5 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Did you know flamingos are not born with their vibrant plumage? Their beautiful plumage is actually the result of some pretty incredible science and the remarkable ways nature has evolved to find its way!
Read More

Puffins: Ready for Their Close Up!

4 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

How can a plush toy help us capture nature at its best? Here's a whole new look at puffins (the other amazing black and white bird), and how we are filming their lives up-close!
Read More

Turning Birds Into Dinosaurs

12 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Is turning birds into dinosaurs possible? Creating the dino-chicken isn't just a scientific dream. The science behind the project is already a reality!
Read More

The Secret Life of the Snowy Owl

9 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What if we could fly along with the snowy owl as it made its migration? An NPR team decided to follow the remarkable journey of Baltimore, the most studied snowy owl in history, to get a glimpse at what the lives of these mysterious creatures looks like!
Read More

Using Bird Vomit to Uncover History!

9 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

How can owl pellets help us make conservation decisions? It turns out a little bit of gross science can have a big impact! And it's actually pretty cool!
Read More

The Unbelievable World of the Birds-of-Paradise

18 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Deep in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea are some of the most unique birds in the world. Check out the expedition that set out to photograph and study them all!
Read More

The Grand History of the Humble Pigeon

8 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Why should we appreciate the humble pigeon a little more? It turns out, pigeons are actually much smarter than we give them credit for, not to mention we share a rich history!
Read More

Pollination: Beauty and Key to Life

15 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Here's one of the most fundamental, yet unappreciated processes on earth, filmed in a breathtaking, fascinating and curious way. You'll never look at an apple or flower the same way again!
Read More

The Evolution of Flight

45 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Only 4 times in the history of animal evolution did creatures take to a completely new element. After water and land,... they took to the air! The evolution of how and why is amazing, and the photography breathtaking!
Read More

Swan Upping: The Ceremony of Conservation

10 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What do swans, nifty uniforms, conservation, and Her Majesty the Queen of England have in common?
Read More