Beetle Jaws, Haws, Disgorge

My sisters and I used to love collecting and pulling apart the barn owl pellets that we found in the soil sterilisation shed at the family home. I didn't realise until recently that other birds produce pellets of indigestible foodstuffs. I've photographed a blackbird doing so.

Today was the first time I've watched a robin eject a pellet. Look at its tongue protruding in my pic. I collected the pellet, top left, and immediately noticed shiny black chitin, the substance that forms the exoskeleton of insects. When I teased the pellet apart I found two hawthorn seeds and the head of a tiny beetle, bottom left.

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