Audubon from Home

Beak, Beak, What Do You Eat?

Ages 0-6. Can you guess what a bird eats by looking at its beak?

Not all birds eat the same food and what they eat is influenced by where they live. 

For this activity, you will use tools that represent different bill and beak shapes to figure out which shape is best suited to eat certain foods, and what possible bird has that beak.

What you’ll need (I used what I had in my house)

  • Slotted spoon
  • Clip
  • Straw (or turkey baster)
  • Tongs
  • Chop sticks
  • Large spoon
  • A tall glass or vase with water (food coloring optional)
  • A bowl with water and tea leaves (or dry leaves)
  • Small objects (I used tea pearls) either on a plate or bowl
  • Any other “food object” like fake bugs, worms, etc.
  • An empty cup or bowl to put “food” in
Items used as Bird Beaks in top row, items used as food in bottom row Photo: Emily Kaplita/Audubon Vermont

Using the different utensils, try to pick up the different foods to see what they are best at catching for dinner. Once the food is gathered, put it in the empty cup, glass, etc. Once you gather as many as you can, you can return that food back where it came from. Try each tool for each food and decide which tool works the best for each food, and why.

Discussion questions:

  • Are there multiple utensils that work for the same food?
  • Are some beak shapes suited for specific foods?
  • Could your beak eat all of the foods?
  • Do all birds need to be able to eat everything or just certain things? 

Quiz yourself with a little game from Audubon Adventures! Match the beak and feet to the bird you think!

Enjoy the attachment as well; see if you have any of the additional suggested utensils at home and test them out! Match the utensil with the bird too!

How you can help, right now