Notice to Nivernais: collect balls and hazelnuts for science!

The study of the pellets allows a better understanding of the distribution of small mammals: shrews, field mice, voles, etc. These rejects contain the remains of the night owl’s prey. Since small mammals are very fearful, the best way to identify them is to dissect and analyze the granules.

Where to find them?

They accumulate under the perches and resting places of the owls: poles, dead trees, attics of disused buildings… The droppings, which form white streaks, are a good clue to find pellets. Be careful not to disturb the owls. Avoid making noise and space visits. Choose the blackest and most compact balls. Collect them as carefully as possible so they don’t fall apart and store them in a cardboard box or closed plastic bag.

Why hazelnuts?

Also called the golden rat, the dormouse is very small, essentially nocturnal, and difficult to observe. Fortunately, he likes hazelnuts. The study of those it has nibbled allows us to better understand its distribution in the territory.

Where to find them?

Muscardine hazelnuts are collected in a fairly dense deciduous or mixed undergrowth that you like. Or the bocage connected to forest entities and hedges provided with brambles and bushes. Unlike other rodents that eat hazelnuts on the ground, the dormouse eats them directly from the tree. Therefore, it is necessary to favor isolated hazelnuts on the ground, under the branches, throughout the width of the tree. The shell hole (see photo below) is particular: regular, almost round, with a clean and smooth inner edge. Hazelnuts should be stored in a cardboard box or plastic bag.

A hazelnut bitten by a dormouse © SHNA

Where to put them?

The SHNA asks you to clearly indicate the location of the discovery of the balls and hazelnuts. Tags are available here. You have until Monday, October 31 to bring the balls, and until Wednesday, November 30 for the hazelnuts, by going to a SHNA branch: at the Maison du parc, in Saint-Brisson, or at 44, rue du Puits – Charles, in La Charite-sur-Loire.

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