Bird Study Merit Badge
Please arrive with ample time prior to the start time of your class for registration.  Remember there will be others checking in as well and depending on the size of the class, and the event the class is being held in conjunction with, that registration may take a little time.

You should bring a blue card filled out properly for this class. - Scoutmaster Bucky Online participants - you will not be allowed to participate if you have not provided your signed blue card prior to the class - you should have forwarded your blue card to Scoutmaster Bucky prior to the class via email or postal mail:
Scoutmaster Bucky - 5724 Aldrich Avenue South  Minneapolis, Minnesota  55419.

If you are not familiar with how to fill out a blue card, you should familiarize yourself with Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card" document. Click here for Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card".  Remember it is a Scout's responsibility to take care of their own blue card from beginning to end.
Your Scout Uniform is required to be worn for attending this Merit Badge session.   If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Brian Reiners; Scoutmaster Bucky via email or on the phone at 612-483-0665.

Reviewing the merit badge pamphlet PRIOR to attending and doing preparation work will insure that Scouts get the most out of these class opportunities. The merit badge pamphlet is a wealth of information that can make earning a merit badge a lot easier. It contains many of the answers and solutions needed or can at least provide direction as to where one can find the answers.

It is NOT acceptable to come unprepared to a Scoutmaster Bucky event. You can (and should) use the Scoutmaster Bucky Bird Study Merit Badge Workbook to help get a head start and organize your preparation work. Please note that the use of any workbook is merely for note taking and reference and completion of any Merit Badge workbook does not warrant, guarantee, or confirm a Scouts completion of any merit badge requirement(s). You can download the Scoutmaster Bucky Bird Study Merit Badge Workbook by clicking here .   If this link is not working please check the internet for other merit badge workbook options.

It should be noted that this merit badge class is not meant for those who just want to come and see what they can get done. It is possible to complete this merit badge by being properly prepared and having done the preparation work prior to the class. Preparation is a MUST 
Bird Study Merit Badge Current Requirements
Scoutmaster Bucky's - Bird Study Merit Badge Workbook
Scoutmaster Bucky's - Bird Study Merit Badge Field Notebook
Bird Study Merit Badge and Merit Badge History Page

Bird Study Merit Badge Things to remember to bring for this Merit Badge Class:

1. Merit Badge Blue Card properly filled out and signed off by your Scoutmaster

2. Bird Study Merit Badge Pamphlet

3. Scout Uniform

4. Weather appropriate clothing for the time of year and location of the class for outdoor participation

5. Binoculars (preferred but optional)

6. Scoutmaster Bucky Bird Study Merit Badge Field Notebook print out or a Notebook (preferably pocket sized or slightly larger - for taking of field notes and drawings)

7. Supporting documentation or project work pertinent to this merit badge which may also include a Merit Badge Workbook for reference with notes

8. A positive Scouting focus and attitude




1. Explain the need for bird study and why birds are useful indicators of the quality of the environment. Describe how birds are part of the ecosystem.

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 spotting scope, or a monocular.

a. Explain what the specification numbers mean on binoculars, a spotting scope, or a monocular.

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.

d. Describe when and where each type of viewing device would be most effective.

Scouts usually 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:

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)

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. Describe to your counselor how certain orders of birds are uniquely adapted to a specific habitat. In your description, include characteristics such as the size and shape of the following:

a. Beak

b. Body

c. Leg and foot

d. Feathers/plumage

Scouts will find reading the Bird Study Merit Badge pamphlet ahead of time will give them a thorough understanding of the components of this requirement allowing them to be prepared for discussion in the class. It is recommended that Scouts make notes ahead of time to reference during the class discussion, which will offer them the greatest opportunity for successful completion of this requirement at the class.  Only those that come prepared and actively participate in the class discussion will receive a sign off on this requirement.


7. 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.


8. 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 8A 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 requirement.


9. 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 9A) 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.


10. Do the following:

a. Explain the differences between extinct, endangered, and threatened.

b. Identify a bird species that is on the endangered or threatened list. Explain what caused their decline. Discuss with your counselor what can be done to reverse this trend and what can be done to help remove the species from the endangered or threatened list.

Scouts will find working on this requirement prior to the class will give them the best opportunity for consideration for sign off at the class. Of course, the work must meet the satisfaction of the merit badge counselor, however, Scouts coming to the class with this work already done usually will receive sign off on this requirement and its components.


11. Identify three career opportunities connected to the study of birds.  Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss with your counselor if this profession might interest you.

Scouts should review this requirement and its components and be prepared to discuss. It is strongly recommended that Scouts bring any notes or supporting documents they may have to help show the counselor that they have prepared for completion of this requirement.

this page last reviewed / updated: April 2019