Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

Birds of Prey: Activity - Can You Pass the Parts?


In this activity, your students can review bird traits by playing a team relay race called "Can You Pass the Part?" Before you start, read your students this poem as an introduction:

Poem: A Lizard Has No Gizzard

A lizard has no gizzard, and a camel has no beak.
And you will never see a shark soar like a turkey vulture will.

Bear bones do not have struts inside, and wallabies do not have wings.
And you will never see a kangaroo that twitters, squawks, or sings.

A cheetah does not ever have a feather or a crop.
And a giraffe can not fly 500 miles without a single stop.

An octopus has no air sacs, a squid never did have down,
and you will rarely see an earthworm that is any color but dull brown.

But birds have feathers and wings, and a crop, gizzard and beak.
With dazzling colors and awesome flight, they really are unique!


  • Sheets of blank white paper
  • Plastic straws for each student
  • Sheets of easel paper
  • 1 copy of the Clues per team
  • Markers
  • Tape/thumbtacks/Velcro
  • Chalkboard (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Chalk (optional)
  • Circular objects/one per team
  • Drawing of Mr. Birdy


Students will be able to:

  • Describe traits that make a bird a bird


After reading the poem, you and your students should discuss some of the traits that make birds different from other wildlife.


  1. Divide students into teams of four or five. Give each team:

    • a large piece of easel paper
    • markers
    • several sheets of blank white paperv
    • several pairs of scissors
    • circular object (e.g. lid of a cup, cardboard circle, etc.)
  2. Draw "Mr. Birdie and His Parts" on the chalkboard or large piece of easel paper (with all the details), so that all the teams can see it.
  3. Then instruct students/teams to do the following:
    • one student from each team copy "Mr. Birdie and His Parts" (as it appears on the chalkboard) onto the large piece of easel paper
    • one student from each team create a set of circles (8) by drawing/tracing around the circular object onto the sheets of blank white paper, making sure that the circles are numbered as they appear on the chalkboard
  4. Each team will then cut out the eight circles from the sheets of white paper, and label the circles as follows:
  5. Bulletin board
    • gizzard
    • wing
    • air sacs
    • crop
    • preen gland
    • ears
    • feather
    • bones
  6. Now create a large enough space in the room so that students can form relay lines. Each team should have a relay line, and the students should be lined up one behind the other. Place a desk/table in front of each team and lay out the labeled circles on the table. Then place a copy of the Clues next to each set of circles on a table.
  7. On a wall or bulletin board behind each team, hang up the team's large bird picture. Roll a piece of tape and stick it in the center of each circle (or use the adhesive Velcro stickers), adhering a set to the teams bird picture circles and the other to the teams labeled circles.
  8. Give each person a plastic straw.

How to play

  1. The first student in line for each team will initiate the game. The leader must read "Clue #1" on the clue sheet and decide which circle fits the clue best.
  2. Then that student must pick up the circle with his or her straw by placing the end of the straw against the circle and sucking it.
  3. The leader must pass the circle to the next student in line without letting it fall off the end of the straw. The second student must then pass it to the third student in line without letting it fall off. This should continue until the last person in line has the Clue #1 (or labeled circle).
  4. The last student can then hand carry the "Clue" to the big bird and tape or stick it onto the right number (Clue #1 goes on Circle #1).
  5. When the last student has placed Clue #1, he or she should quickly go to the front of the line, read Clue #2, pick up the appropriate circle, pass it down the line, and the last person should place it on the right circle. This is repeated until a team has its bird circles all in place then the game is over.

How to score

Get the Clue Answers.

  1. The team that finishes first gets 10 points
  2. But each team also gets 5 points for every circle that is in the correct spot (maximum score that can be received is 50 points)
  3. If the fastest team has all of its circles filled in correctly, IT WINS
  4. However, if it missed some, another team can still WIN
  5. As you record the teams' scores, discuss each CLUE so that everyone understands the answers

Rules and reminders

  1. No one is allowed to use their hands as the circles are being passed along; ONLY after the last student in the line has sucked up the circle/CLUE can he or she touch it, to place it on the bird.
  2. If a circle/CLUE should fall before it gets to the end of the line, it must be placed back on the desk/table, and the team must start that round again. Suggestion: If your students really have a tough time, after a few tries just allow them to keep going from where they dropped the circle or CLUE by sucking it up with the straw — (without having to START at the front of the line).
  3. Teams should be far enough apart so that they cannot see which circles are being selected or picked by other teams.

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Activity © Ranger Rick's Nature Scope: Birds, Birds, Birds by J. Braus ed., 1993. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, DC. Reproduced with permission.

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