Learn About Ecology
Data And Science
World Biomes
Marine Mammals
Classroom Projects
Birds, Beaks and Food: How Does the Shape of a Bird's Bill Affect What it Can Eat?

Peabody Charter School
Teacher: Claire Poissonniez
Scientists: Dr. Jennifer Balch and Dr. Jennifer Williams

All beaks are good at eating all foods. Some beaks are better for eating some kinds of food than others.



1. We pretended to be like birds and use a tool as our "beak" and a cup as our "stomach".

2. We fed for exactly one minute using one tool, putting food that we gathered into our "stomachs".

3. After the minute was up, we would count up all the food we gathered and record it on our sheets.

4. Lastly, when we had finished using the tool and recording, we began the process again with a different tool than before.

The generalist is a bird that eats more than two types of food, and a specialist is a bird that only eats one kind of food. We found that the spoon is a generalist and the toothpick is a specialist. The clothespin and tweezers are both generalists because they eat different kinds of food.