October 28, 2014
Dad Consumes Another Molting Feather
Some bird species have been known to consume feathers during molt. One study in particular looking at Great Crested Grebes suggested that ingested feathers, in the absence of other indigestible matter, contribute substance to the stomach content, enabling the formation of pellets that can be ejected. It is thought that the habit of regularly ejecting the stomach contents minimizes the chance that any serious population of gastric parasites will build up. Could the feathers consumed by the owls have a similar function?