Lesson Plans about Shorebird Adaptations

The lesson plans for this stop during "Migration Science and Mystery: A Distance Learning Adventure" at Stikine River Delta in Alaska emphasize shorebird adaptations.  Shorebirds have a number of traits or characteristics that have enabled them to be successful in their habitats.

Concepts Presented in Lesson Plans

■ Shorebirds, like other animals, are adapted in three ways to survive: physically, physiologically, and behaviorally.
■ Shorebirds have many physical, or morphological, adaptations to help them walk, find food, hide, reproduce, and fly long distances during migration.
■ Shorebirds are also adapted physiologically to their migrating lifestyle, particularly in their fat-loading abilities which enable them to store energy for long flights.
■ Adaptations are naturally selected over a long period of time, and specialized animals like shorebirds cannot adapt overnight to damage or alteration of their habitat.

Lesson Plans

Build a Shorebird
(lower elementary)
Students will learn about the physical adaptations unique to shorebirds by dressing up a volunteer with bird “adaptations” that gradually transform him or her into a bird--and then into a
shorebird. They will discover that shorebirds are a diverse group of birds designed to feed and nest in specific habitats. They will become familiar with some of the most common threats to shorebird survival.

To complete this activity, you may want to refer to Shorebird Adaptations.

What Can I Eat with This Beak?
(lower elementary, upper elementary/middle school)
Students collect a variety of simulated shorebird food items, using “tools” that represent four
different shorebird beak designs. Then they determine which type of food their beak was designed to collect by sorting and identifying which food items they were most successful at catching.

Avian Olympics
(upper middle school/high school)
By competing in physical and math/science activities, students come to understand that shorebirds are incredibly adapted to long distance migration.