Build and Band a Bird!

Part 1: Build Your Bird

Our apple bird is stuck together with matchsticks and has band #2048.

You’ll need:

  • 1 fruit or vegetable
  • 2 sticks/forks
  • Other items to decorate your bird
  • A strip of paper, scissors, and tape


  1. Start with a fruit or vegetable of your choice. You can also use a ball of mud.
  2. Insert two sticks, forks, or other objects to be the legs.
  3. Attach a head, wings, and a tail to your bird. Be creative!
  4. Cut a strip of paper to fit around the bird’s leg. Write a number on the band and tape it around a leg.

Part 2: Make a Simple Balance Scale

Try counterbalancing your bird with pennies or other small objects!

You’ll need:

  • A clothes hanger with notches
  • 2 recycled containers of similar size
  • A hole punch or something sharp
  • String and scissors
  • Small objects: pennies, dried beans, pebbles, etc.


  1. Use the hole punch to make holes on either side of the recycled containers, or ask an adult to help you use something sharp to poke holes.
  2. Cut two equal lengths of string, and tie them through the holes. Allow enough string for a nice handle.
  3. Hang the containers on either side of the clothes hanger, and hang the balance scale from a doorknob or another bar or hook in your home.
  4. Place your bird gently in one of the buckets. What happens? Try to balance it by putting small objects in the other bucket! How many pennies/beans/pebbles does it take to balance your bird?

Challenge: Find the Mass of Your Bird in Grams!

Our bird has a mass of about 250 grams, the same as 250 ml of water or 100 pennies!

You’ll need:

  • Water
  • Measuring cup


  1. Place your bird gently in one of the buckets. Slowly pour water into the other bucket until it exactly balances your bird.
  2. Pour the water into a measuring cup and read off the volume in milliliters (ml). Because each milliliter of water has a mass of 1 gram, this volume reading equals the mass of your bird in grams!
  3. Report your data on our online bird banding data sheet! See how the mass of your bird compares to other people’s birds, and to real birds in the wild! Report your data using the form below, then click here to see everyone’s results!

We’d love to see pictures of your birds! Please send them to

Did you know …

An average Wilson’s Warbler has a mass of about 8 grams, about the same as three pennies! How many Wilson’s Warblers would it take to balance the bird you made? Read more here about the adaptations that allow birds to fly.

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