4th Annual Bird Study Merit Badge Workshop

Fernald Preserve

First thing is that I’d like to thank all the staff at Fernald Preserve who’s hospitality went above and beyond our expectations in allowing us to once again offer this workshop to the youth leaders in the Tri-state area. I join Phil Burgio in thanking you from the bottom of our hearts.

The weather channel called for off and on rain and thunder showers throughout the day. As with anything Scout related where the outdoors in concerned, you better be ready for rain. Phil and myself prepared ourselves with the lesson plan that was set for the indoors, but what do you do if your outdoor plans get rained out? With 6 hours set aside for the workshop we were pretty sure that there was going to be sometime during that time when it wasn’t raining and then we could get the Scouts outside.

At 9 am we started with 4 fewer Scouts than those that signed up. We usually only have 12 Scouts, and with only 8 today that was kind of nice. We also had 3 parents stay which is always a big plus. After everyone introduced themselves we started into some of the early requirements, like how to take care and properly adjust your binoculars and how birds are useful indicators of the quality of the environment.

Linda, one of the staff at Fernald helping out with some free samples for the Scouts.

With the rain still holding off we loaded everyone up into the 3 cars and made our way down to the lot next to Lodge Pond near the front of the preserve. For this Merit badge the scouts need to identify 20 different species of birds so the idea was to scope out the pond first and pick up any ducks and wading birds before walking the along side the road. The Pine Trees that line both sides of the road are great for passerines as we spotted a good variety of Sparrows and Warblers.

We slowly made our way back towards the Visitor’s Center for some lunch and finish up more indoor requirements. As we drove back we would stop and look at new birds like American Kestrel and Eastern Kingbird. With the sky darkening, we’re lucky as the rain came down in earnest while we had our lunch. This was the time the Scouts worked on bird feeders and identified different birds by their call alone.

Phil had collected old popcorn containers to use as the bird feeders the Scouts would take home with them.

It was during this time that it appeared that the rain was letting up a little
. With only a couple hours left till parents started appearing, we once again made our way outside for more bird watching. It was during this time that we discovered if the Scout was prepared or not. It started to rain lightly and there were a couple of Scouts (who will remain nameless) who looked a little waterlogged. Even though our trip was cut short we were able to pick up even more birds for the days count.

This group of Scouts were very knowledgeable and eager to participate in all activities. Despite the fact that it was cut short a little by the inclement weather the Scouts were well behaved and obedient. It’s groups of Scouts like these that make this workshop worthwhile and a great success year after year.

The bird list might differ from what the Scouts saw. Phil and myself were at Fernald early and we did a little birding before the Scouts showed up.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. American Kestrel
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Turkey Vulture
  4. Song Sparrow
  5. Field Sparrow
  6. Savannah Sparrow
  7. Grasshopper Sparrow
  8. White-crowned Sparrow
  9. Chipping Sparrow
  10. Killdeer
  11. Great Blue Heron
  12. Green Heron
  13. Canada Goose
  14. Northern Mockingbird
  15. Common Yellowthroat
  16. Palm Warbler
  17. Yellow-throated Warbler
  18. American Robin
  19. Mourning Dove
  20. Carolina Chickadee
  21. European Starling
  22. Brown-headed Cowbird
  23. Common Grackle
  24. Red-winged Blackbird
  25. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  26. American Coot
  27. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  28. American Goldfinch
  29. Eastern Bluebird
  30. Eastern Kingbird
  31. Mallard
  32. Blue-winged Teal
  33. Mute Swan
  34. Wilson’s Snipe
  35. Lesser Yellowleg
  36. Hooded Merganser
  37. Blue Grosbeak
  38. Tree Swallow
  39. Barn Swallow
  40. Northern Rouogh-winged Swallow
  41. Wood Duck

6 responses to “4th Annual Bird Study Merit Badge Workshop

  1. It was a good group of scouts.

  2. Pingback: Notes From The Field | A Birder's Notebook

  3. Hi! Is there a Bird Study Merit Badge workshop planned for 2013?

    • There will be no class this year. I’m sorry for the inconvenience however if the scout is truly interested in the merit badge he can make arrangements through a qualified merit badge counselor

  4. Will there be a class in 2014?

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