28 April 2022
Seed-eating birds use only their beaks to extract their food from shells and husks. Have you noticed how they do it?
At the feeder you may see them pick up a whole nut, crack the shell with their strong beaks and let the shell fall, then work on the seed inside their mouths with tongue and beak. They do the same with grassy seeds though we rarely see it.
This slow motion video of a field sparrow (Spizella pusilla) shows how he separates the “wheat” from the chaff. It’s a lot of mouth work for tiny seeds.
Field Sparrow grazing in Central Park pic.twitter.com/Wl6WycXl3q— Brad Balliett (@BalliettBrad) April 8, 2022
(photos from Wikimedia Commons and Marcy Cunkelman)