Jump to content
s'morestashe

Nature Merit Badge

Recommended Posts

The month is almost over and no birds have moved into the bird house. Does he start over and make something else? Birdhouse looks ok and seems to be in a good location. He already made a bird bath for a the Bird Study MB and so could he make another one of those? Or does he have to do the birdbath?

 

Here's what the req says...

Make and set out a birdhouse or a feeding station or a birdbath.

List what birds used it during a period one one month.

 

Thanks for input.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, welcome to the forum! 

 

If the scout made a bird house OR a feeding station OR a bird bath, and no birds showed up, the list is going to be quite short.....Really short, but it meets the requirement. 

 

If the scout is interested, he could always toss out a bucket of bird seed, birds need food, not necessarily a house or a bath.  After all birds have survived millions of years without houses and took their baths in puddles.  Whatever the scout wants to do should be interesting and fun for him him...not frustrating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say he met the letter of the requirement.  List what birds used it? None. Done.  On the other hand, a simple feeding station might give more positive results.  When we put out feeders, the birds seem to find it in a matter of hours.  The purpose of a MB is to learn, not just to get a badge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Up to MB counselor, if it were me.

 

List what birds used birdhouse.  NONE , but here are the birds which I observed in the area and why they might nest elsewhere.  Food, predators (plenty of hawks here), bird size, nesting habits,..

 

My $0.02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One birdhouse is unlikely to have more than one species of bird to use it in a season. I'd go with the feeding station. It will be used by everything that eats that food once it's been discovered. But don't waste your time putting it in the middle of the front yard or next to a street. It needs to be in a place where birds would tend not to encounter threats or else they might avoid it.

We have one just off the back porch and this morning we had at least 6 species coming through.

I wouldn't count a zero as having learned much of anything about nature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All good ideas. One other: Go to a feeding station or park in your area to try to make a list of birds. 

 

IMHO the intent of the requirement is to make the house or feeding station, then identify birds that use it. If no birds come, I would think the counselor would want the Scout to make an attempt to track and identify birds elsewhere. Ponds and lakes are a great place.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forums! Let us know what your son's counselor says. If it's at camp, I should hope they try a little time bits watching ... Maybe at some houses the camp put up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nail a board with an edge around it to the bottom of the bird house that was built.  Now you have a feeding station.  The scout already has his month in as a bird house with zero traffic at least now he'll have something more interesting to watch..... Make sure the seed is a variety of different types.  Finches like thistle, cardinals like sun flowers, chickadees and nuthatches like suet.  Turkey vultures and crows like road kill, so be sure to drag something dead up close to the house where you can watch it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nail a board with an edge around it to the bottom of the bird house that was built.  Now you have a feeding station.  The scout already has his month in as a bird house with zero traffic at least now he'll have something more interesting to watch..... Make sure the seed is a variety of different types.  Finches like thistle, cardinals like sun flowers, chickadees and nuthatches like suet.  Turkey vultures and crows like road kill, so be sure to drag something dead up close to the house where you can watch it.

A dead thing, that is a GREAT idea. You can also watch all the different kinds of insects that help recycle the carcass. The insects will be the first to arrive. They'll enter the nose, eyes, ears, wounds, and anus. For me the thought causes a little 'pucker factor' if you get my drift.

 

On a similar note, you can do the same thing with an animal (for want of another term) turd (meadow muffin?). For either the carcass or 'that other thing', the boy can take a photo of it from the same angle every hour (in the case of that other thing) or every day in the case of the carcass and make a record of the recycling progress/process. Have to watch though, as a carrion eating bird might move it, and a passing dog might eat that 'other thing'. I wish I knew why dogs do that. They seem to especially like 'other things' from cats. Go figure. But I digress......

Edited by vumbi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just curious as you dont mention where you're from - did he discuss this with his counselor before he set out a bird house?

 

I ask because for most of the country, setting out a bird house a month ago is just a little early for birds to start using it and a good counselor would have been able to explain that.  In the Chicago area, the birds most likely to use bird houses - wrens, tree swallows, bluebirds - have only just started showing up in the last few days and are still setting up their territories.  Starlings have just recently dispersed from winter flocking and are only just setting up territories.

 

The other thing about birdhouses is it often takes a couple of years before birds will actually start using them which is why that particular activity in the requirement can be frustrating - I wish they would eliminate bird houses from the list altogether and just stick with bird baths and bird feeders.

Edited by CalicoPenn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the input.

 

Yes, the Nature MB requirement already required IDing 8 species of birds, so he has done that part. Mild climate, near water, so that requirement was easily met. Prior to joining scouts and an animal lover, he already has placed in his yard a hummingbird feeder, seed feeder, and a bird bath. He chose the house because it's something he hadn't done before. Perhaps, it's still too early, but not according to the birding club in our area. I will probably suggest he set up another bird feeder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Calico, the chances that a freshly built bird house will be used within the first month of being up are really low.  I have several bird houses in my yard built when my sons were, I think, working on Bears.  It was a couple years before they were inhabited by anything, maybe just in time for a Merit Badge.  Two of the houses now have wrens most summers, one came down in a storm, and one was occupied part time by a squirrel.

 

He  should talk to his counselor; I think he fulfilled the requirement.  Keep an eye on the house it could have occupants sooner or later. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The month is almost over and no birds have moved into the bird house. Does he start over and make something else? Birdhouse looks ok and seems to be in a good location. He already made a bird bath for a the Bird Study MB and so could he make another one of those? Or does he have to do the birdbath?

 

Here's what the req says...

Make and set out a birdhouse or a feeding station or a birdbath.

List what birds used it during a period one one month.

 

Thanks for input.

If no birds used it, note that fact. It is an observation. I probably means that the location or design of the birdhouse isn't appropriate.  I would say he fulfilled the requirement, and I am a Nature MBC. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have bird houses all around our yard. Set them out for years. One that I built with Son #2 when he was just old enough to appreciate the concept, my starving-artist friend painted. Looks great in the lawn for all these years, never inhabited. Might have something to do with house pets!

 

On the other hand, my 120 year old house with massive box-gutters, always has a nest or two in the decorative woodwork. I think in this old neighborhood, it's an avian buyer's market.

 

Your boy certainly has the badge, so this is a matter of seeing if his interest will take this to the next level. He could put out an additional house every month. Vary the location. See which, if any, finally gets occupied. It could be a science fair project.

Edited by qwazse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Turkey vultures and crows like road kill, so be sure to drag something dead up close to the house where you can watch it.

 

ok, you owe me a new keyboard... coffee everywhere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...