Some shorebirds, such as the red-necked phalarope, feed by rapidly pecking at the water surface to take tiny, prey-containing droplets, which they then draw up toward the mouth through a high-speed "tweezering" motion of the beak (first half of movie). Using a mechanical beak model, Prakash et al. showed how the tweezering works -- through a "capillary ratchet" mechanism that, relying on the drop's surface tension, drives the food up with each movement (second half of movie). The mechanism's fin
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