Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beaks & Feet at Beczak

Mikro attended the Beaks & Feet River Explorers program at Beczak Environmental Education Center. The kids learned about how birds have specialized beaks which are adapted to the sort of foods they eat. Raptors (e.g. eagles, hawks, owls) have a "shredder" beak for tearing up flesh. Nectar feeders like hummingbirds have a "probe" beak for reaching into the flowers. Fish eaters like herons and cormorants have a "spear" for fishing. And water fowl who eat aquatic plant matter have a "strainer" which allows them to get rid of excess water (e.g., ducks). Beaks are also used for digging by some species.

Birds' feet are adapted to their habitat, and food procurement method as well. Raptors have talons or claws for grasping and holding their prey. Aquatic birds have webbed feet which help them paddle through the water. Wading and perching birdds like heron have long, thin toes for stability and grip. Songbirds have shorter, thin toes for perching.

The kids went outside looking for birds, and then came back in and made a craft-- a bird beak and pair of feet covers. Mikro adores blue herons, so his choice was easily made:

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