Old Hickory Council - Hanging Rock District

Troop 444: Bird Study Merit Badge


Bird Study




  1. Explain the need for bird study and why birds are useful indicators of the quality of the environment.
  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 types of wing feathers.
  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.
  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:
        A. Seabird
        B. Plover
        C. Falcon or hawk
        D. Warbler or vireo
        E. Heron or egret
        F. Sparrow
        G. Nonnative bird (introduced to North America from a foreign country since 1800)
  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.
  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.
  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 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.
  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.

Bird Study Worksheets for use in working on these requirements

Boy Scout Oath

On my honor, I will do my best

To do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Boy Scout Law

A Scout Is...

A Scout tells the truth.
He keeps his promises.
Honesty is part of his code of conduct.
People can depend on him.
A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.LOYAL
A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.HELPFUL
A Scout is a friend to all.
He is a brother to other Scouts.
He seeks to understand others.
He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.
A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position.
He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.
A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle.
He treats others as he wants to be treated.
He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.
A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop.
He obeys the laws of his community and country.
If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.
A Scout looks for the bright side of things.
He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
A Scout works to pay his way and to help others.
He saves for unforeseen needs.
He protects and conserves natural resources.
He carefully uses time and property.
A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid.
He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.
A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean.
He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals.
He helps keep his home and community clean.
A Scout is reverent toward God.
He is faithful in his religious duties.
He respects the beliefs of others.