I’ve not been in our collections building for a couple of weeks now, so I am running short of specimens to use for the mystery object. However, there was one at my disposal, that I collected myself well over a decade ago – any idea what this is:
As usual, you can put your questions, comments and suggestions below and I’ll do my best to reply. Good luck!
I was going to say owl, but the beak is shorter than my barn owl skull.
Tawny owl ?
I think it looks like a buzzard (Buteo buteo)
DEFINITELY not a buzzard
Oooooh! SORRY for being wrong………
Sorry if I was rude.
I said it like that because sometimes I’m not sure but that time I was really sure.
There are similarities with a buzzard, but Jake is right when he (very emphatically) says it isn’t one.
The hooked bill suggests a carnivorous bird, and the short head and large eye sockets suggest to me that it’s an owl of some kind. OTOH, I agree with Jake that it doesn’t look like a barn owl (and for the same reason).
So what does that leave? Four possibilities spring to mind. Judging by the size, and general shape, I’ll place my guess at the Little Owl (Athene noctua).
Wow, the answers are coming thick and fast! I should probaably point out that I never mentioned where it was collected and I’m not going to until I post the answer!
I know! I know! It’s a CORRECT ANSWER!
Jake’s done that one before!
As it happens I am thinking of not obscuring the correct answer for this one, since the answer on Monday is going to focus on the assumptions and doubts that accompany identifications of specimens.
Baby birds aka chicks are rarely skeletonized which is probably unwise since there are so many dead baby birds lying around.
The fact that this skull just doesn’t look right, and the way the bone is so thin that it’s curling and doing something like oxidizing the way old hatched turtle eggs do, makes me think this might be a baby raptor.
I can see where you’re coming from. It was a youngish individual, but not a juvenile – probably 8-9 months old at time of death.
Did you collect this direct or did I pick it up and you collected it from me?
This is one I collected myself.
Due to the angle and relative length of the beak, I am placing my guess at Strix varia, the barn owl. For a youngish individual to be already ~60mm, it could grow to the full size (~70mm) later. I realize, however, that the barred owl is restricted to North America – but I’m sticking with it!
…I meant barred owl both times. Sorry.
I still think tawny owl.