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Animals        < Previous        Next >

 

Birdbrains and Other Parts

 

Today's Snack: Eat like a bird! Mix shelled sunflower seeds with dried peanut halves and dried apricot cut up into tiny pieces. Use a pretend "beak" like a clothespin to pick up every piece and put it in your mouth. Use a straw to drink juice or milk to go with your seedy snack.

 

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Supplies:

 


If anyone you know has a pet bird, today would be a great time to study it

Or . . . a hunter friend might loan a taxidermied pheasant or quail

Feathers, including goose-down

Tweezers

Straw

Chopsticks

Spoon

Ice-cream scoop

Clothespin

Bottle opener

Hammer and pounding board

Long piece of Fruit by the Foot

Ziploc bag or zippered jacket

 

Birds are awesome. They have so many neat and useful body parts - not just their wings, either. We humans have copied a number of things about the well-designed bodies of birds in the objects that have been of great use to humans.

 

Consider these examples:

 

Hummingbird's beak is long and hollow, like a straw, so that it can go deep into a flower

 

Eagle's talons are sharp and curve inward, like a bottle opener, to grasp and carry prey

 

Flicker's tongue is long and sticky, like a living Fruit by the Foot, when it is unrolled and stuck into holes in tree bark to capture and draw in bugs to eat

 

Heron's beak is really long and sharp, like chopsticks, so that the heron can get underwater food in the shallows

 

Woodpecker's beak is really, really hard and strong, like a hammer

 

Duck bill is curved, like an ice-cream scoop, so that the duck can root out bugs in the mud

 

Robin's beak is rather long, so that the robin can pierce the ground and pull up worms

 

Chickadee's beak is tiny, triangular, but very strong, like a clothespin, to crush hard seeds

 

Cardinal's conehead is fancy to attract the ladies, and intimidating to scare off enemies

 

Many bird feathers are like Velcro or Ziploc bags in the way they work together to keep warm air in, and moisture out

 

Now try using some of the objects to pretend to pick up food the way a bird might. If you have an extra sunflower seed from today's snack, put it on the table. Put the tweezers in your mouth. Then try to pick up the seed. It's not as easy as our feathered friends make it look, is it?

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Animals 03 2008

 

 

 

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