c. Steve Nanz

Bird Beak Bonanza!

This activity comes to us from Prospect Park Alliance environmental educators at the Prospect Park Audubon Center. Check out our Audubon at Home page for more nature fun.

Birds are an incredibly diverse group of creatures. Right here in Prospect Park, you can see birds in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. 

Have you ever wondered why there are so many types of bird beaks and bills? Different bird species have special beaks to help them eat their favorite foods. The object of this game is to try to “eat” or pick up different types of food with specialized “beaks.” See if different beaks make eating certain foods easier or harder, and figure out which foods each bird prefers based on your success!

Bird Beak Bonanza

The “beaks” and who they belong to:

  • Drinking Straw = Hummingbird
  • Chopsticks = Heron
  • Pliers or Nutcracker = Finch
  • Tongs, for Salad or BBQ = Duck
  • Tweezers = Warbler

The food you eat, and the food the birds eat:

  • Nuts = Seeds and Nuts
  • Juice or Jelly = Nectar
  • Soup with Stuff (Noodles, Meat, Vegetables) = Small Fish
  • Grains of Rice = Seeds and Small Insects
  • Lettuce and Vegetables Floating in Water = Aquatic Plants


Try “eating” all the different foods with the different “beaks,” i.e. use each of the household implements to try and pick up the various pantry items, and see if you can figure out what each bird’s favorite food is! Write down your answers and then check below (don’t peek until after you are done!). 




Hummingbird (Straw) = Nectar (Juice and Jelly)
Hummingbirds have long, tubular bills that resemble straws, which they use to sip nectar from flowers.

Heron (Chopsticks) = Fish (Soup with Stuff)
Herons and other wading birds have long beaks that enable them to make sudden, long jabs into the water for fish.

Finch (Pliers and Nutcracker) = Seeds and Nuts (Nuts)
Finches have short, thick beaks. They are strong, and can crush hard seeds.

Duck (Tongs) = Aquatic Plants (Vegetables in Water)
Ducks have wide, flat bills that allow them to grab plants floating in the water bodies they live in. 

Warbler (Tweezers) = Insects and Small Seeds (Rice)
Warblers have thin, slender, pointed beaks. They are used to pick insects off leaves, twigs, and bark.