WOW-Birds’ Bills

Posted on 26. Jun, 2016 by in WOW! Blog

Do you ever think about the ways that all birds are alike? They all have feathers. We know that. They all have bills. What is a bill? It’s an extension of the birds jaw. All birds have bills but they vary greatly. Birds don’t have teeth so they use their bills to get food and eat it but in many different ways. Think about some of the common birds that you see. A Cardinal has a strong bill called a “grosbeak” that allows it to crack seeds like a nutcracker. Woodpeckers and sapsuckers can use their bills like a chisel to make a hole in a tree to get insects or to suck the sap out of the tree.

A Hummingbird has a long thin bill that it can insert into a flower and then extend its long tongue even deeper into the flower to suck the nectar that it feeds on. They can also use their tongue to catch insects. Here’s a video of a hummingbird feeding. There are lots of hummingbird videos on youtube. https://youtu.be/iClV8JIAsV8

Sparrows and finches use their sharp bills like tweezers to pick up their food.

Raptors, or birds of prey, use their bills to catch and eat small animals. They tear the meat from the creature with their bill. Some common birds of prey are owls, hawks and eagles. The top of their bill is shaped like a hook.

Birds that eat fish use their bills like a spear. Maybe you see a kingfisher or a heron when you walk by the lake or a pond. They move very fast and catch the fish with their bill. The picture above is a Great Blue Heron fishing in the pond near my house. Look at it’s bill!

Other things birds do with their bills are preen their feathers, build nests and feed their young. Watch the birds that live near you to see how they use their bills. Watching birds can be a great way to spend time out doors. I hope you enjoy birdwatching!

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