Short lesson on the different kind of birds feet and why they need to be as they are. Appropriate for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade students. There is a short work sheet at the end of the slideshow that may be printed for student use.
Bird Feet People’s feet are a little bit different— some are longer, some are wider. But most of all they all look pretty much the same.By Moira Whitehouse PhD
But not Bird FeetThey come in many different shapes and sizes
Perching birds have fourbendable toes threepointing forwards and onebackwards. Why wouldperching birds need thesekinds of feet?
Yes, these feet would be perfect forthese birds who need to grasp and holdon to branches.
Woodpeckers havetwo toes pointingfrontwards and twopointing backwardswith sharp claws.Why wouldwoodpeckers needsthese kind of feet?
Yes, these feet would be perfect for a birdthat climb up or hang upside down ontrees trucks.
Water birds like duckshave webbing (skin)between their toes.Why would birds wholive in water needthese kind of feet?
Yes, webbed feet, almost likeflippers, are perfect for those birds thatswim in water.
Wading birds like heronshave long toes whichspread their weight overa large area. Why wouldwading birds need thesekind of feet?
In soft sticky mud, things sink downand get stuck. These feet are perfectfor birds who live near water helpingthem walk on top of the mud withoutgetting stuck.
Raptors such as hawks,eagles and owls usetheir long claws (talons).Why would those birdsneed these kind of feet?
These birds eat animals such asmice, squirrels, and fish. Talons likethese are perfect to capture, kill andcarry prey.
Flightless fast running birdssuch as emus has strongfeet with a flat base andthree toes. Why wouldbirds like this need thesekind of feet?
Since these birds do not fly, they needto be able to run. With these feet theycan run really fast to catch food andescape enemies.
So why do you think that birds have allthese different kinds of feet?
Teacher: The following page may be printed for astudent exercise.Students should draw a line connecting each of the feetin the center column with the kind of bird in theoutside columns that has that type of foot. Like this: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx