IT MUST BE NOTED THAT SOME REQUIREMENTS MAY TAKE PLACE OUTDOORS AND SCOUTS SHOULD ATTEND WITH OUTDOOR GEAR APPROPRIATE FOR THE TIME OF YEAR AND FORECASTED WEATHER CONDITIONS. PLEASE ALSO NOTE ANY SPECIAL ITEMS NEEDED FOR USE SPECIFIC TO THIS MERIT BADGE THAT SCOUTS SHOULD HAVE FOR THE CLASS.
1. Explain the need for bird study and why birds are useful indicators of the quality of the environment.
Scouts should prepare notes prior to attending, for use during the class, as they will be required to partake in a classroom discussion with other participants and the counselor to fulfill this requirement.
2. 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. Sketch or trace an extended wing and label six types of wing feathers.
This requirement will be covered during the class, however Scouts should prepare and make themselves familiar with the terms and components of this requirement. Without this preparation and reading (most of which is in the merit badge pamphlet) Scouts may not be signed off on this requirement.
3. 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.
Scouts should complete this requirement in the class but should come prepared having read the information in the merit badge pamphlet booklet on this requirement. Scouts who do not do the preparation reading and are unable to demonstrate (show) the above aspects of the requirement may not be signed off on this requirement.
4. 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:
c. Falcon or hawk
d. Warbler or vireo
e. Heron or egret
g. Nonnative bird (introduced to North America from a foreign country since 1800)
This requirement will be covered during the class, however it must be noted that preparation by reading the merit badge pamphlet is a MUST for this requirement, but does still not guarantee completion as Scouts will need to demonstrate a competency level for this requirement to the counselor. Having done preparation work by thoroughly reading the merit badge pamphlet prior to the class will ensure a higher chance of completion of this requirement for Scouts.
5. 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.
Scouts should have with them on the day of the class their notebook and pencil or pen in order to record their observations. Time will be given in the class to go outside and make observations. Scouts may come to the class with up to 5 of these observations done that can be reviewed with the counselor. Please note that the 5 done prior to class will be accepted / rejected per the counselor's determination of how well the requirements have been met.
This requirement may or may not be able to be completed during the class. Completion of this requirement will be dependent upon weather and time available for this requirement during the class [which will be directly related to how well prepared participants are for completing the other requirements during the class].
6. 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.
Most parts of this requirement will be covered during the class, in order to offer Scouts the best opportunity to complete this requirement as a part of this class, not only should they prepare by reading this requirement's section within the merit badge pamphlet, but a small amount of additional research (library books or [with your parents' permission] resources on the internet, could prove very helpful in completing this requirement. Knowing the songs/calls and their meanings for birds found most common and local to Scouts will allow for a higher chance of completion.
7. Do ONE of the following:
a. 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.
b. By using a public library, the Internet, or contacting the National Audubon Society, find the name and location of the Christmas Bird Count nearest your home and obtain the results of a recent count.
1. Explain what kinds of information are collected during the annual event.
2. Tell your counselor which species are most common, and explain why these birds are abundant.
3. Tell your counselor which species are uncommon, and explain why these were present in small numbers. If the number of birds of these species is decreasing, explain why, and what, if anything, could be done to reverse their decline.
Scouts will complete requirement 7A as a part of this class. Completion of this requirement will be based on active participation during the class and successful completion of the requirements as written in this requiremen.
8. 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.
Scouts will build a bird feeder (requirement 8A) as a part of this class (materials will be supplied at the class) and Scouts will be able to complete this requirement within the class upon completion of the bird feeder project and applying what they have learned and observed in the previous requirements for this merit badge.