These were the REQUIREMENTS before the REVISIONS
with the release of a new edition of the merit badge pamphlet during
To see the current requirements
- Explain the need for bird study and why birds are useful
indicators of the quality of the environment.
- 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.
- Demonstrate that you know how to properly use and care for
- Explain what the specification numbers on the binoculars
- Show how to adjust the eyepiece and how to focus for
- Show how to properly care for and clean the lenses.
- 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:
- Warbler or vireo
- Heron or egret
- Non-native bird (introduced to North America from a
foreign country since 1800)
- 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.
- Note the date and time.
- Note the location and habitat.
- Describe the bird's main feeding habitat and list two
types of food that the bird is likely to eat.
- Note whether the bird is a migrant or a summer, winter,
or year-round resident of your area.
- 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.
- Do ONE of the following:
- Go on a field trip with a local club or with others
who are knowledgeable about birds in your area.
- Keep a list or fill out a checklist of all the birds
your group observed during the field trip.
- Tell your counselor which birds your group saw and
why some species were common and some were present in
- Tell your counselor what makes the area you visited
good for finding birds.
- 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
- Explain what kinds of information are collected
during the annual event.
- Tell your counselor which species are most common,
and explain why these birds are abundant.
- 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.
- Do ONE of the following. For the option you choose, describe
what birds you hope to attract, and why.
- Build a bird feeder and put it in an appropriate place
in your yard or another location.
- Build a birdbath and put it in an appropriate place.
- Build a backyard sanctuary for birds by planting trees
and shrubs for food and cover.
BSA Advancement ID#: 29
Pamphlet Revision Date: 1999
Requirements last updated in 1999