Fill the bill

When it comes to the food that they eat

People have tastes that range from sour to sweet.

Vegetables, meat, fruit or wheat, in order to eat

We all have a mouth, a tongue, and some teeth.

But have you ever given a passing thought

To what birds eat, and how their food is caught?

You’d be amazed to find that birds have menus

That match with their beaks and the food they choose.

Beaks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes

Each bird has its own to use, as the need arises.

A beak can do the work of a fork, spoon or tong

Can be used as nutcracker, chopsticks or sipper long.

Cone-shaped beaks look small but they are strong

To help sparrows and buntings crunch seeds all day long.

Warblers, tits and ioras, with small sharp beaks

Use them deftly to pick up insects from twigs.

A pelican’s beak comes attached with a pouch

To store extra fish, when the stomach says “ouch”.

The spoonbill’s beak is its special feature

A long flat spoon to scoop up every creature.

Long straight beaks come in quite handy

To pick up the worms where it’s muddy and sandy

Strong chisel-like beaks are sharp and neat

For woodpeckers to probe in tree cracks for a treat.

When you sip a cool drink you may use a straw

Beaks can be straws too, when they’re long and hollow.

For sunbirds and hummingbirds flitting in the bowers

To sip the sweet nectar from all the flowers.

Hornbills or toucans have a most unusual beak

To pluck and enjoy the fruit that they seek.

Strong hooked beaks mark birds of prey

Eagles or hawks use theirs to tear flesh away.

Herons and storks patiently wait, at the edge of the water clear

To pierce the passing fish, with a beak that’s like a spear.

Stranger yet is the flamingo pink, its beak becomes a filter

That keeps in the food and lets out the water.

Birds that flit quickly and swiftly around

Need beaks to catch insects in the air, not on the ground

And all birds need beaks to ruffle and preen

To comb through their feathers and keep them clean.

Each bird has a beak best suited to its needs

An eagle can’t sip, nor a woodpecker crack seeds.

You won’t find a pelican munching on fruits

And you will not see an owl nibbling on roots.

The next time you see a bird, take a closer look,

Check out its beak, and more pictures in a book.

Try to guess what its owner must like to eat

And imagine a tasty menu to give the bird a treat!

This article is from issue

CC Kids 16

2022 Dec