Life Cycle - Natural Environment (1B)

  • Comparing different birds.
  • Exploring the eating habits of individual birds.
  • beak
  • bill
  • bird
  • predatory
  • set of simple machines (i.e. nutcrackers, tweezers, etc)
  •  bag of seeds and beans
  •  lab sheets

Students determine what birds eat by looking at a bird’s beak. 



Different birds require different types of food, water, and shelter in order to live.  There are many different types of habitats for individual bird populations.  For example a forest will have several types of birds, but the coastal ocean will have a totally different type of bird population.  An area that has abundant water, like rivers or ponds tends to have many species of birds because birds must drink water.  Birds also gather where food is locally abundant and which includes fruiting or flowering plants, garbage dumps, or short grasses.  

The shape of a bird’s beak is very important to how that bird eats.  The design of the beak will determine what that bird can eat.    


  1. There are many different ways in which birds eat.  Give the students some simple machines including nutcrackers, tweezers, and sets of pliers.  Instruct the students to try and pick up the seed or bean and try to open it just with a “beak” (or the tip of the simple machine.)  This is difficult because it takes a lot of power to break a seed.  The pliers are the most accurate analog to a beak. 
  2. Students have made their worksheets from the pre lab which they will now compare with the bird pictures provided.  Students have to determine what type of diet that particular bird has by comparing beaks.  Instruct students to write on their lab sheet what the bird eats.  If you have pictures around the room of birds, have the students guess what they would eat. 
    Below is a summary of the birds:
    Sparrow - seeds and insects

    Blue Jay - eats insects, worms
    Mallard Duck - omnivore, filter feeder
    Burrowing Owl - small mammal (carnivore)
    Hairy Woodpecker - insect
    Quail - seed
    Eagle - small mammal, small birds (carnivore)
    Brown Pelican - fish
    Emperor Penguin - fish
    Crow - omnivore, seed and  scavenger

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