Lab: Bird Beak Adaptation



Objective: Students will understand natural selection and selective pressure, by examining the relationship between bird beaks and preferred food types.


Method: In this simulation, you will imitate birds, gather different kinds of food items, and record and analyze your data.


Plastic cup (1 per student)

Spoons-for spoonbill birds (1per bird)

Popsicle or chopsticks - for chopstick bill birds (1 pair per bird)

Scissors - for scissor beak birds (1 pair per bird)

Tweezers - for tweezer bill birds (1 per bird)

Clothespins - clothespin beak birds (1 per bird)

Round toothpicks for stick worms

Washers for wash weevils

- rocks for rock beetles


  Lab questions

Data sheet (word version) (1 per student)

  Graph paper or computer graphed



1.      Each student gets a cup to be used as a stomach in which to store food items.

2.      Each student is given one type of bird beak to be used to pick up food items.

3.      When directed to, each bird must pick food items using its beak and drop the food items into its stomach. (Food items may not be scooped or thrown into the stomach. the stomach must be held upright.)

4.      At the signal to stop eating, all birds stand up at once.

5.      Each bird counts the number of food items in its stomach and records it on their data sheet.

6.      Birds with the same beak type now meet together, determine the average number of food items gathered and record it on their data sheets.

7.      Repeat the activity for each remaining food types, and scenarios, and record the data.

8.      Discus and analyze the data collected, construct  two graphs of the data as directed on the data sheet.

9. Using the graphed information answer the questions on the data sheet.