The last group of animals to research may be the most interesting. Most birds share an awesome adaptation: they can fly! This does not make a bird, however. Traits which all birds share are:

  • Feathers
  • Lightweight skeleton
  • Beak with no teeth
  • Laying eggs

The first two allow most birds to fly. Unlike mammals and reptiles, most birds have hollow bones. This makes them very light. Their feathers and lightweight skeletons are physical adaptations. This is a trait which an animal is born with that helps it survive. Soaring through the air is a pretty fun way to travel!

Cedar waxwing perched on a branch
This cedar waxwing is a migratory bird. It visits the park in the winter and early spring. They love the berries which grow on juniper trees.

NPS photo by Jeff Zylland

World Travelers

Many birds of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are here only certain times of the year. That is because birds migrate. This is the movement from one place to another. Birds migrate to find the best habitat for the right time of year.

Birds migrate mainly to find more food. Many birds lay eggs in the spring or summer because that is when they find the most food. Birds can be herbivores, omnivores, insectivores, or carnivores! Depending on the bird, they will eat seeds, berries, bugs, reptiles, small mammals, and even other birds!

Wait, what kind of a bird eats another bird?!

A bird of prey of course! Birds like eagles, hawks and owls are expert hunters. They have great vision and hearing. They are also very fast. The golden eagle can dive through the air at 150 mph! Their powerful senses and awesome speed are examples of physical adaptations.

Two mountain bluebirds, the colorful male with the brown female
Both of these birds are the same species: the mountain bluebird. Can you guess which one is the boy and which one is the girl? The male is a bright blue to attract the female.

NPS photo by Jeff Zylland

Dress to Impress

Many birds have colorful feathers. If you see a brightly colored bird, it is probably male. The boy birds like to get dressed up in fancy colors to impress the ladies! Bright colors also distract predators away from the nest.

Theodore Roosevelt loved birds! Since he did not have great eyesight, he learned to identify birds by their song. Next time you are outside, close your eyes and listen to hear how many different birds are nearby. The longer you listen, the more you will hear. You might be surprised how many different birds are out there!

That wraps up our research on birds! Our last research topic involves some time travel - keep going to learn about the future of the national park!

You can also go back to the main wildlife page, or the first Learn About the Park page.

Go to the vocabulary page to review the blue words you learned here.

Last updated: August 21, 2015

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