Feather Bedhead

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Feather Bedhead

August 16, 2018

We just love this guy’s hairdo. He’s an Egyptian vulture, also known as “the Pharaoh’s chicken” after Egypt’s long-ago kings. Aside from his crazy feather bedhead, he also has a very pointy-looking beak, and he’s very smart with how he uses it. Egyptian vultures are one of the few birds that hold objects and use them as “tools.” Vultures usually eat animals that are already dead – yuck! But they also eat other things, like the eggs of other birds. The vulture holds a pebble in its mouth and pounds it like a hammer on the egg to open it and eat it. Also, vultures use their beaks to roll up wool on twigs when building their nests. Now, if we could just teach him how to use a hairbrush…

Wee ones: How many eyes does our Egyptian vulture friend have?

Little kids: An Egyptian vulture’s wings stretch 3 times as far as his body length! Lie down with your arms to the sides, and have a grown-up mark the end of each hand with a book or toy. Now turn to put your head near one marker, and your feet by the other. Which is longer, your body or your armspan?  Bonus: A female Egyptian vulture lays 2 brick-red eggs each year. If she’s been laying eggs all your life, how many eggs has she laid altogether? (Don’t worry about half-years!)

Big kids: If you take 7, add 2, triple what you get, and subtract 6, you get the number of years Egyptian vultures live. How long is that?  Bonus: When Egyptian vultures “migrate” (fly north or south for the season), they can fly 300 miles in 1 day. How many miles could they fly in 1 week? (Hint if needed: What if they flew just 3 miles a day…then how about 30 miles a day…)

The sky’s the limit: If an Egyptian vulture hammers an egg, then rolls up a twig, then says “ca-caw!”, then hammers, rolls a twig, ca-caws, and so on to repeat the pattern, what’s its 92nd move?











Wee ones: 2 eyes.

Little kids: They might not be exactly the same, but they’ll be close!  Bonus: Different for everyone…multiply your age by 2.

Big kids: 21 years. You get 9, then 27, then 21.  Bonus: 2,100 miles.

The sky’s the limit: Rolling up a twig. 92 is 2 more than a very clear multiple of 3 (90), so it’s the 2nd move in the set.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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