Biology II Lab: Why Birds of a Beak Eat Together

Mrs. Lawson’s Biology II classes have been studying population genetics, speciation, evolution and natural selection. This week, students participated in a lab activity to study how adaptations of beaks help birds survive in particular habitats.

Each student was assigned to a group representing a flock of birds (ducks, herons, hummingbirds, etc.). Each flock was given a tool to resemble that flock’s beak type (tongs, tweezers, eye droppers, etc.). The flocks visited each station (habitat) to try to obtain food using the beak they have been given and formed a hypothesis on which habitat would be best suited to them.

Students had two minutes to gather as much food as possible. Students then determined which habitat or habitats would be best suited for their flock and if any other habitats would suffice should habitat loss/destruction occur.

Junior Grace McLoughlin said, “We’re doing a lab about how birds adapt from natural selection. Certain beak sizes can’t consume specific foods because of the size of their beaks. I was a hawk, and we were able to stab things easily, so we could pick up small rodents and plants. We weren’t able to get nectar from flowers, so hawks couldn’t survive in that type of environment.” She finishes, “I learn more from hands-on experiments and enjoy these types of labs.”