An Eyedropper Reflects How a Hummingbird Uses Its Beak

Do you think a hummingbird could gobble up a mouse? Of course not! I was able to do some outreach this week with a few summer school classes of 2nd to 5th graders. We learned about birds beaks and the adaptations that are special to certain birds by playing the “Fill the Bill” activity outside in the lovely sun. Many of the students were able to tell us why, for example, a swallow has a large, gaping mouth – in order to catch the insects flying through the air! As we wrapped up the activity with each class, the kids came up with so many great answers about what they learned, not only about birds but about animal adaptations in general.

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Also, many of the Black Oystercatcher (BLOY) chicks are almost at the fledgling stage, doing their best to fly for at least a few seconds! Unfortunately, one of the pairs at Wilder Ranch went from three chicks to two, and there is no way of knowing what happened to the third chick. I watched this same family of BLOYs for almost two hours the other day, because one of the chicks seemed to be stuck in an area away from the nest site.

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One of the parents was showing it how to look for mussels (picture on the left), and when it flew away the chick stayed where it was, calling for mom or dad to come back, running back and forth as if it had no idea what to do. The chick tried to fly but did not make it very far, only a foot or so. I was unable to stay longer to see whether the chick made it back safely, but I will be checking on them later and will let you know next week. The picture above and on the right is the family waiting for their chick to come back.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend and finds some time to relax, just as this harbor seal is doing. (We learn so much from animals!)

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Ariana Pacheco
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