STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Beauty and the Beak

Beauty and the Beak: how science, technology, and a 3-D printed beak rescued a Bald Eagle. by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp

48 pages; ages 5-12; Persnickety Press, 2017

In a huge nest of twigs, high above an icy cold Alaskan river, a Bald Eagle chick cracked open her egg.

At first she’s covered in down. But soon her wings become longer and stronger. Bit by bit her feathers grow in. She’s a teen, taking test flights, and then off on her own. She hunts, eats, and soon is ready to fly back to the land where she was born. But one day she is shot in the face. A bullet shatters her beak, tears her eye, and leaves her bleeding.

“Beauty” is rescued and taken to a wildlife center where she can heal. But she can’t eat or drink because her beak hasn’t grown back. Then Janie, a raptor rehabilitator, takes Beauty to a raptor center in Idaho. She works with an engineer to try something crazy: create a prosthetic beak for the eagle – and make it with a 3-D printer! But would it work? It did, and Beauty learned to eat and drink again on her own.

What I like about this book: This is a true story of how engineering and technology come to the rescue! That would be enough, but there are 16 pages of back matter packed with details about Beauty’s beak and other prosthetic devices, as well as tons of facts about Bald Eagles.

I also like that this book comes out in the tenth anniversary year of the Bald Eagle being taken off the Endangered Species List. Even though they are no longer “endangered”, Bald Eagles still face many risks – especially from human activity. People shoot them, or the eagles collide with cars, trains, or power lines.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for some beyond-the-book activities.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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Author: Sue Heavenrich

I write about science and environmental issues for children and their families.

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