Birds & Blooms

Fitting the Bill

Learn how different types of beaks come in handy.



Bird enthusiast­s know sunflower seeds are popular with a variety of backyard visitors. Birds that have cone-shaped beaks have the ability to trap a seed, thanks to a special groove in their beaks, and crack it open. Using their tongues, these birds then nimbly separate the seed from the shell.


Look closely at a black skimmer and you may notice it seems to have an underbite. But that’s not a hindrance for these birds—in fact, it helps them catch their food in a very distinct way. They fly while dragging their lower mandibles through water, hoping to scoop up a fish.

 ??  ?? Blue grosbeak
Blue grosbeak
 ??  ?? Black skimmers
Black skimmers

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