Thursday, September 24, 2009

Merit Badge of the Week: Bird Study

We are fortunate to have an Audubon club in a nearby town.

Each November, they have a multi-day event for the general public that includes hikes, vendors, several talks, and a great session with live birds (last year's was about raptors).  They also offer a separate class (all day) for Boy Scouts to cover their Bird Study merit badge.  This includes building a great birdhouse that anyone would be proud to display.

A second session is held a couple of weeks later to handle the field work required for the badge.

I suspect there are areas of the country that are easier and harder to earn this merit badge.

Like Basketry, this merit badge requires patience.  Good tracking skills help, too, something Baden Powell would have encouraged.


  1. Always start with the Introduction to Merit Badges for the steps to a successful merit badge. Use the Bird Study worksheet provided at
  2. Find a local chapter of the National Audubon Society.  [It would be easy to take all the points for this merit badge just from their resources online!]
  3. has 5 birdhouse kits for your Scouts (or you!) to work on, including a nice little log cabin style for $1.88.
  4. 10 Tips for New Bird Watchers--where else, but
  5. Kudos to Gary Wilson, Bird Study Merit Badge Counselor in NJ:  Bird Study Merit Badge Online
  6. Christmas Bird Study reports--folks, there is a LOT of material here.  100 years of Christmas Bird Counts are in a database for you to poke through.
  7. Online bird guide from of the entries have recordings of the birds.
  8. An amazing website:  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  9. Bird house plans for free.
  10. Bird guides on Amazon--use the list to find the book you want in your local library.
Related merit badges:  Fish and Wildlife Management, Insect Study, Mammal Study, Nature, Reptile and Amphibian Study

One in six Americans is involved in birds--whether active bird watchers or just keeping feed out for them in the backyard.  Do you?  Leave a comment below with your bird study stories or resources!

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