Official Description Food Webs … Owl Pellets


The 2018 Food Webs… Owl Pellets event will include online submission of observations, explanations, and conclusions.

The event will follow the rules for the standard Food Webs…Owl Pellets event listed in the official Elementary Science Olympiad Competitive Tournament Rules Manual from the National Science Olympiad, with the variation that responses will be submitted online. The written test described in the rules manual may not be included or may be a part of the online submissions.

2018 Event Details

Teams are expected to obtain at least five (5) owl pellets from a commercial source.

Each owl pellet should be dissected individually and the results of the observations kept independent from other pellets. That is, each pellet should provide independent conclusions regarding the feeding habits of the owls.

Observations and conclusions reported online may include:

  • Description of the owl pellet(s) prior to dissection
  • Identification of bones found in the owl pellet
  • Submission of a photos of bones, individual
  • Number of prey species found in each pellet
  • Identification of prey species found in each pellet
  • Conclusions regarding the food web and habitat of the owl that produced the pellets.
  • Student ideas regarding ecological considerations related to owl habitats.

Number of Students

Up to 15


All necessary materials are provided by the school/team.

Online Submission Link

A link will be posted on the website prior to the due date. Check the Online Events tab.

Online Submission

Students will submit evidence of their work online for scoring, including two mandatory deadlines in advance of the Science Olympiad tournament date. This is a significant variation from the rules described in the manual. Note that the due dates are well in advance of the date of the Science Olympiad tournament.

First Deadline: Friday, December 7, 2017

On or before this date, a team of students will submit observations, identifications, and conclusions about the owl pellet activity. Only one submission may be made per team.

Second Deadline: Friday, January 11, 2018

On or before this date, students will respond to additional questions regarding owl habitats, owl food webs and ecological considerations related to owl habitats.

Scoring priorities include

  • Careful observation and dissection of the owl pellets
  • Identification of bones and owl prey species
  • Reasonable conclusions regarding owl feeding habits and ecological habitat implications.


Download a printed copy of the official description of Food Web … Owl Pellets.