Bird Study Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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Req #8: Backyard Bird Sanctuary -

Prepare with building plans, worksite location, materials and tools for building a backyard bird sanctuary.

Study Hall - Nature Soundtrack
I've watched one Camping Merit Badge Counselor run the entire hourlong soundtrack of this nature scene video as background ambience to his Camping Study Hall session.
Birdsong Ambiance #1 - 8 hours of nature - Birds Singing- Waterfall-Birdsong-Sound of Water-Relaxation-Meditation


Bird Study Merit Badge C) Prerequisites - Scouts
Work to be done prior to program start:

    Print Merit Badge Workbook
    One copy for each scout. And don't forget to have ready your Merit Badge Blue Card - (home printer version.)

    Req #2: Bird Sketches

    a. Show that you are familiar with the terms used to describe birds by sketching or tracing a perched bird and then labeling 15 different parts of the bird.
    b.Sketch or trace an extended wing and label six types of wing feathers.
    Diagram of a Bird
    Diagram of a Wing

    A. Field Binoculars
    A good pair of binoculars will add much to your bird study experience.

    Optics from Eagle Optics
    Sponsored Link: Eagleoptics: Telescopes & Binoculars

    Shop the National Geographic Online Store
    Sponsored Link: Nat Geo Store:

    Bird Study Merit Badge B. Bird Field Guide
    A must have resources for all birders. Nowadays there now good iphone apps to help you quickly identify birds. Birders prefer guides with drawings over photos becauses artists will enhance key features to look for.
    National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America - Lists all 990 Species include 23 new species, quick-find visual index, and migration maps.

    C. Bird Study Journal
    To Notate your sightings and any birds songs, calls, etc., prepare a field notebook, making a separate entry for each species: date, time, location, habitat, bird diet, and migration patern. If you can't name a bird, write down a description to reference later.

    D. Sharp Pencils
    Birder's Hint: Be prepared - Carry more than one!

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Bird StudyMerit Badge D) Study Hall

The purpose of this section is to facilitate an opportunity for scouts to research and learn about key concepts relevant to this subject. They need to be prepared to explain these to the counselor.

While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles intruduced here would be relevant.

    Req #1: Introduction
    Explain the need for bird study and why birds are useful indicators of the quality of the environment.

    Req #2: Bird Sketches & Reports -

    Req #3: Binocular Demonstration -
    Demonstrate that you know how to properly use and care for binoculars.


      a. Explain what the specification numbers on the binoculars mean.
      b. Show how to adjust the eyepiece and how to focus for proper viewing.
      c. Show how to properly care for and clean the lenses.

    Req #4: Field Guide Demonstration -
    Demonstrate that you know how to use a bird field guide. Show your counselor that you are able to understand a range map by locating in the book and pointing out the wintering range, the breeding range, and/or the year-round range of one species of each of the following types of birds: a. Seabird b. Plover c. Falcon or hawk d. Warbler or vireo e. Heron or egret f. Sparrow g. Nonnative bird

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BasketryMerit Badge E) Patrol Activity

    Req #8: Backyard Bird Sanctuary -

    For a good patrol night activity - consider anyone of the following: Do ONE of the following. For the option you choose, describe what birds you hope to attract, and why.


      a. Build a bird feeder and put it in an appropriate place in your yard or another location.
      b. Build a birdbath and put it in an appropriate place.
      c. Build a backyard sanctuary for birds by planting trees and shrubs for food and cover.


Bird Study Merit Badge F) Field Trip

Req #5: Observe 20 Species of Wild Birds -

Observe and be able to identify at least 20 species of wild birds. Prepare a field notebook, making a separate entry for each species, and record the following information from your field observations and other references.


    a. Note the date and time.
    b. Note the location and habitat.
    c. Describe the bird's main feeding habitat and list two types of food that the bird is likely to eat.
    d. Note whether the bird is a migrant or a summer, winter, or year-round resident of your area.

Req #6: Identify 5 Bird Calls -

Explain the function of a bird's song. Be able to identify five of the 20 species in your field notebook by song or call alone. For each of these five species enter a description of the song or call, and note the behavior of the bird making the sound. Note why you think the bird was making the call or song that you heard.

Req #7a: Birding Field Trip -

Go on a field trip with a local club or with others who are knowledgeable about birds in your area.


    1. Keep a list or fill out a checklist of all the birds your group observed during the field trip.
    2. Tell your counselor which birds your group saw and why some species were common and some were present in small numbers.
    3. Tell your counselor what makes the area you visited good for finding birds.


Bird Study Merit Badge G) Program Debriefing

After completion of the above activities you may need a final session to report on your work and studies.


H) Extra Credit

Bird Study is one of the elective merit badges for the William T. Hornaday awards for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts.

Bird Uses Bread to Fish - Video Clip

Natural Tunnel State Park Virginia Tour Natural Tunnel State Park
Extreme Hikes, Caverns & Nature

Large Natural Tunnel in use today by a major railroad line. The natural tunnel has been a Virginian tourist attraction for more than a century. A major state landmark located on two major trails - This Historic Wilderness Road and Virginia State Birding Trial. It is a popular place for amateur geologists, extreme hikers, railroad buffs, bird watchers and swimmers.


Bird Study Merit Badge J) Bird Study Famous Quotes:

    Weasel Flys on Woodpecker - An amazing image of a weasel mounted on a flying woodpecker has been captured by a photographer in a London park
    Benjamin Franklin - I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character . . . like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy . . . the turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.

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