Museum at Home

The Wetlands

Wetlands are an ecosystem filled with an amazing array of native flora and fauna. Grab your binoculars and head to the wetlands with Claire, whose mission today is to learn more about birds and their beaks.

 

How to design bird beaks

    

You will need:

  • Food - such as gummy worms, pasta shells, seeds, marshmallows, popcorn, water
  • Design materials - such as pegs, tooth picks, skewers, plastic spoons, plastic forks, straws, paper, tweezers, strainers, elastic bands, glue

What to do:

  1. Use the materials to design ‘bird beaks’ that will pick up different types of food.
  2. Test your beaks.
  3. Adapt your designs to improve how they work.
  4. Try putting the food in different ‘environments’ such as water, sand.
  5. Does this make it harder or easier to feed?
  6. Look at different bird beaks, and try to guess what the birds eat.

A quick note on Darwin’s finches

In 1835, Charles Darwin collected a number of finches (a type of small bird) from the Galápagos Islands. They are closely related but the size and shape of their beaks are very different, depending on what food they eat—seeds, insects, cactus flowers and fruit, even bird blood. Darwin worked out that these birds all came from a single species a few million years ago but evolved into different species that ate different food. 


Engineer your bird beaks, take a photo and tag your work on social media #QMNetwork #museumathome