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  • Sara Thompson

Bird Beaks are Useful Tools

By Sara Thompson

Special to the Enterprise


Bird beaks come in all shapes and sizes. The variation allows different species of birds to feed on different things. This can help reduce the need to compete for resources when birds live in the same ecosystem.


Go around your house and find the following items: nail, pliers, skewer, spoon, staple remover, strainer, straw, and tweezers. Now image or find the pictures of the following birds: duck, eagle, great blue heron, hummingbird, pelican, robin, sparrow, and woodpecker. Now try to match up the tool to the bird and their beak.


The bird who has a beak like a nail will pound it into trees to find insects underneath the wood. The bird with a plier-like beak likes seeds and nuts and uses them to crack open the shells. The skewer-like beak helps this bird catch fish. The bird with the beak like a spoon will scoop up some water with their fish prey. The bird with a beak like a staple remover used is to tear off pieces of meat to eat and feed to their chicks. A bill like a strainer helps this bird filter out small things to eat from the water it swims in. The bird who has a straw-like beak uses it to suck sweet nectar from flowers. The bird with a beak like tweezers uses it to pluck worms from the ground.


The campers this week at our Something Wild camp learned about different animal groups, including birds and their diverse beaks. Campers also investigated owl pellets, felt mammal pelts, and met our live reptiles.


Beak Tool Answers: Nail-woodpecker, pliers-sparrow, skewer-great blue heron, spoon-pelican, staple remover-eagle, strainer-duck, straw-hummingbird, tweezers-robin.


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