Beaks and Food

The beaks and bills of birds come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Every bird has a beak that is unique to the type of food that it eats. For example, an owl has a sharp beak so that it can tear apart meat, whereas a small songbird like a sparrow has a very small beak that is made for eating seeds and sometimes small berries. This activity lets you find out what it's like to try eating different shapes and sizes of food with different shapes and sizes of beaks.

Take a look at the pictures below and try to guess what each of these birds might eat!

What You'll Need

  • A large bowl
  • A timer (optional)

Your "Bird Food" (you don't need all of these items, these are just some ideas):

  • Sand
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Marshmallows
  • Gummy Worms
  • Cereal
  • Pasta

Your "Beaks" (again, you don't need all of these, just some ideas):

  • Chopsticks
  • Tweezers
  • Pliers
  • Salad tongs
  • BBQ tongs
  • Forks
  • Toothpicks
  • Clothespins

What to Do

  1. Begin by collecting your materials and gathering them all in one common area.
  2. Put all your "bird food" into one large bowl and let the fun begin!
    • Test out the different "beaks" to see which types of food you can pick out.
    • Make a game out of it! Birds have to compete for food in the wild, so if you have a friend or family member, set a timer and see who collects the most pieces of food in 30 seconds!

Ask Yourself

  • Which type of beak was the hardest to pick up food with? Which was the easiest?
  • For each of the tools you used as beaks, try to predict what type of bird has a beak similar to that tool. For example: the salad tongs might be like a pelican's beak or the tweezers might be like a robin's beak.