This activity does require quite a bit of preparation, but I feel that it is definitely worth the work. To begin with, I collected several types of tools to serve as birds' beaks (tongs, tweezers, slotted spoons, eye droppers, staple removers, etc.) Then, I collected a variety of bird foods (snails/macaroni, grubs/m&ms, nectar/red water, worms/ gummy worms, small seeds, large seeds, flesh/staples in cardboard, fish/paper clips, beetles/raisins, duckweed/Styrofoam). I typically mix the food in with oatmeal or potting soil to make it a little more realistic for students. During the activity students have two attempts to collect as much food as possible with the two beaks of their choice. I like to give students 30 seconds for each attempt, and I have students record their results on their data collection sheet.
What beak works best for beetles?
Every year my students LOVE this activity! You can download your copy of the data collection sheet by clicking on the picture below.