REGURGITATE:  to throw or pour back or out from or as if from a cavity  

I try to be supportive of Son’s interests.

When he went through his cheetah phase, I checked out lots of books on the subject, researched the difference between cheetah and leopard spots, and participated in countless races.

When he went through his Star Wars phase, I found him a Darth Vader mask, solicited his talented grandmothers to make him a cape and chest shield, engaged in light-saber battles, and humored the “hide the Chewbacca figurine” game that lasted for weeks.

Now, he’s moved on to birds of prey.  Everything was going great.  In fact, his interest even overlapped with an owl unit at his preschool.  He’s been painting owls for art.  He went on a field trip to see owls at the zoo.  Everything was going great until the regurgitated owl pellet was sent home. 

For those of you not familiar with owl digestion, let me educate you:

Owls don’t chew their food.  They swallow it and pass it directly to their two-part stomach.  The soft parts of the food are ground up by muscle contractions.  The insoluble items such as bones, fur and teeth are filtered out and compressed into a gizzard-size pellet that is regurgitated. 

Delightful, no?

Well, as I was saying…Son brought a regurgitated owl pellet home from school.  I found him intently concentrating on dissecting the pellet with toothpicks on our coffee table.  There was a pile of rodent fur and various pieces of a rodent skeleton.  Jaw bones, ribs, etc. 

I’m a fan of science.  I want to foster curiosity in my children. I, myself, enjoyed dissecting an owl pellet in elementary school.  However, the years have changed my perspective on a regurgitated fur-ball filled with bones.  Seeing a pile of rodent residue in the spot where I place my evening tea and popcorn totally grossed me out. 

Since then, I’ve been doing my best to re-direct the bird of prey fascination toward activities that are less disgusting.  To that end, I offer you our most recent baking activity (photo is from the FamilyFun website, but ours was equally adorable):


When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  When life puts regurgitated owl pellets in your child’s backpack, you distract him with cupcakes.


15 thoughts on “Regurgitate

  1. I have to admit, I had to think twice about reading a post entitled Regurgitate, especially since I’m still having morning sickness. But I’m glad I read on. You both humored and inspired me, as usual.

  2. regurgitated owl pellet?? I have never seen one and after knowing what it is now…I wish I never do! You surely know how to look at the humour in everything, even the most disgusting. Hats off to you, lady!

    1. You can order them over the internet if your little monster ends up with a bird of prey fascination. Yep, for only $2.05 you too could be totally grossed out. It would make a GREAT white-elephant gift, though. 🙂

  3. I grew up in one of those little towns where people cling to religion and guns. I moved and now live in a huge city. I can’t tell you if the change of location turned out good or bad, but after many years it is for ‘better or worse’.

    I have an uncle who took me into the countryside almost every week for years. Fortunately for me he wasn’t the usual bumpkin and was in the process of going to the University. He would have been better off (my opinion) if he would have taken a degree in Forestry and not become a teacher, so that he could sit in a brick building and wrangle delinquents (like me). I can smell the forest now as the refinery is downwind this morning. Actually the forest is in my mind and I can conjure the smell. There is no forest here to speak of and a big park has to become a stand-in.

    My uncle taught me about many little forest details that I would have missed. “Don’t touch that plant, you will get a bad rash”. “Oh look! It is a pile of cougar poop! Lets see what he had for breakfast.” You know the rest of how that is done.

    I hope that your son gets to dissect “the pellet” somewhere out of sight. The World has enough folks with degrees in business pursuits, engineering and head- shrinking (the hyphen is endangered and one should use it whenever possible, appropriate or not).

    I think there will be a crying need in the ‘nearer than you think’ future for those who are into owl pellets. Hopefully these people will teach those of us who don’t have a clue what to do in order to rebuild the biosphere. We will need desperately those who have the education in natural systems and who will relish dirt under their finger nails.

    If you threw the owl pellet out; I hear that you can buy one on the internet!

    Phillip aka eggsuckingpup

    1. I agree that a love of nature and a curiosity about the way things work is a gift that will serve him (and the rest of us) well. Would I have selected my living room coffee table as the disection surface? No. Did I help him identify the bones based on the rodent skeleton diagram? Yes.

  4. Amazing owl cupcakes! Your son needs a lab coat, gloves and a special tray all his own for owl peeled, millipedes, germs of all kids etc….

    1. Thanks Annie! Yes, he needs his own lab. Not only for the creepy crawlies but also for the hover cars, water-balloon-throwing robots, and multitude of other “inventions” constantly under construction. If only we lived in the suburbs and had a garage…

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