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Chris's pellet collection

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The Mole | 14:53 UK time, Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Well, last night was a bit dramatic, wasn't it? We spent a week watching the lapwing chicks being fed and a week watching the kestrel chicks being fed and then suddenly we find ourselves watching a lapwing chick being fed to a kestrel chick.

And how did we know that the lapwing chick being fed to the kestrel chicks was one of our lapwing chicks? Simple. Because the ring that you can see on the chick's leg as it disappears into the mother kestrel's mouth ... is a ring that we attached.

Cue Chris on last night's show saying how he would love to get into that nest box and look for any pellets that the the mother kestrel may have expelled. Then he could find the ring that the bird was unable to digest and identify the chick that was eaten, all in the name of good science.

Of course there are many people who would rather boil their head than fondle a pellet that a kestrel has just ejected. But Chris is no stranger to pellet fondling. In this clip he shows us his extensive collection of pellets as well as a number of other wildlife items that are close to his heart:

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  • 1. At 3:35pm on 02 Jun 2009, LazyRizzo wrote:

    Chris is just weird. That's our considered opinion. Poo and gape flange obsessed, and plain weird. ;)

    (only joking Chris!)

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  • 2. At 3:39pm on 02 Jun 2009, fallingjohndon wrote:

    Hi I was walking the Great Glen Way (Fort William to Inverness 18th may-21st May 09) heard the unmistakable cuckoo call on consecutive days in different areas of the walk, mainly woodland areas but one of them was high above Loch Ness,unfortunately no sightings, fantastic walk though..

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  • 3. At 4:02pm on 02 Jun 2009, Blackfoot46 wrote:

    It seems perfectly natural for me that kestrels should take whatever food they can find for their own chicks, but you might be able to help us with an event we saw last weekend on our allotment which was this, a jay appeared out of the hedge with a fledgling in its beak and took off into the woods, is this normal behaviour?

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  • 4. At 5:04pm on 02 Jun 2009, EnglishFolkfan wrote:

    Well, from Gape Flange to Poo - that's the whole cycle and real science - am learning lots - with many thanks to Chris.

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  • 5. At 8:58pm on 02 Jun 2009, NickLW wrote:

    'Vicar in a tutu?' Ah... another Smiths reference. Clever.

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  • 6. At 9:24pm on 02 Jun 2009, blackbirdgirl12 wrote:

    its cool but slitly unpleasent lol :)

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  • 7. At 9:37pm on 02 Jun 2009, MayaPlass wrote:

    When I was a kid my Mum (a biology teacher) would take us to find regurgitated owl pellets. We'd then take them home and soak them and extract the bones of mice etc. and lay them out on black card - I absoloutly loved it and became a tad obsessed with owls for a while. I had posters of owls and rodent skeletons plastered all over my wall. One of the many things that got me hooked on nature! My daughter hasn't missed out on inheriting the "wierd" and gruesome habits. When we catch fish she insists we gouge the eyes out for her to play with. That is what "normal" kids should be doing! Chris in my books your completely normal!

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  • 8. At 9:44pm on 02 Jun 2009, MayaPlass wrote:

    I should add fish (makeral) that we catch on a hook for dinner - we're not talking about blinding fish for no reason!

    What do you call a fish with no eyes? Fsh.

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  • 9. At 10:55am on 03 Jun 2009, TarquintheImposter wrote:

    I can't see the content, but have javascript and flash installed.

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  • 10. At 8:00pm on 04 Jun 2009, Battybev wrote:

    Has anyone seen or heard of this before...
    A young fledgling magpie was killed on the road on Tuesday during the day. At dawn 3.30 ish Wed morning I was woken by a raucous din which became louder and louder as I lay thinking 'it's only magpies!'
    Eventually I decided something had to be wrong and got up to see 16 magpies - many of which were walking around the by now flattened fledgling screeching and squawking. Every time a car came they flew onto the nearby roof and returned once it had passed. This must have continued for 20 minutes. At one point one went up to it and pecked although it didn't seem to want to eat it but pulled it and moved it around. Then they suddenly left. Could this have been a show of emotion for the lost fledgling? I couldn't think of any other reason for it, and why so long after it had been killed.

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  • 11. At 8:58pm on 04 Jun 2009, cleversmiths wrote:

    FAO Chris Packham - next door there is a light that never goes out which attracts lots of moths - we have a lovely bat couple called Patrick and Stephen feeding on them. And, we think they're roosting somewhere by the cemetery gates. We're taking bets on you saying I know its over next Thursday but we can't guess how you can work in some girls are bigger than others without annoying Kate!

    Them was rotten days...


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  • 12. At 9:09pm on 04 Jun 2009, Battybev wrote:

    Mayaplass - I'm so glad your mum did the owl pellets with you. I have done this activity on sundayschool trips, in school and with my own children - most people think i'm a bit 'batty' about these things but i love to enthuse with my class children about birds, bugs and wildlife - they love it and i'm sure some of them will become enthused themselves.

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  • 13. At 11:22pm on 10 Jun 2009, Buster-Black wrote:

    I have a Cole Tit nsting in a nest box is this unusual? She laid 9 eggs and I think all have hatched.

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