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Perhaps Requirement 6 (below) should be rewritten to describe species evolution during climate change?:unsure:

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

From NBC News:

For about four decades, researchers collected and measured 77 species of birds at forest camps.

The researchers collected data on more than 15,000 birds. Little changed around them —  except the climate. 

Wet season temperatures have increased by an average of about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, with 13 percent more rain, the study says. Dry season temperatures rose by nearly 3 degrees, and rainfall dropped about 15 percent.

In track with the environmental changes, birds' bodies transformed subtly over time. All 77 species studied, on average, weighed less than they did four decades ago. The trend was statistically significant in 44 of the species.

In 61 species, birds’ wings grew longer on average. Nearly a third of the 77 species showed clear trends toward longer wings.

The research suggests that human-caused climate change is piercing even areas considered otherwise largely untouched by people — free of busy roads, pollution and deforestation — and prompting profound changes to the creatures that live there. Every species, on average, weighed less than it had when it was measured in the early 1980s, which the researchers say has no other explanation than a changing environment. 

Birds around the world face climate threats. The U.S. and Canada have lost a quarter of their combined bird populations since 1970, in part because of climate change, a 2019 study found. And unlike many small mammals, which are often nocturnal and able to buffer themselves from temperatures in burrows, nests or caves, birds are constantly exposed to ambient climate conditions, said Blair Wolf, a professor of biology at the University of New Mexico who wasn’t involved in the Amazon research. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/pristine-amazon-birds-show-signs-climate-change-rcna5190

My $0.02,

 

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I don't want to hijack the thread, and maybe this discussion about the Outdoor Code belongs in a separate thread. Our troop recites the Outdoor Code only rarely, but when they do they keep their

Yep.  Even when the logging companies only take 1 tree out of 4, (which is generally a low percentage) they never mention the collateral damage that the remaining woodlands will take from the machiner

The larger property management issues you raise like logging and just general poor stewardship of scout lands is another crazy disconnect.  As far as Jamborees, I mispoke. I meant all the local scout

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9 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

Every species, on average, weighed less than it had when it was measured in the early 1980s, which the researchers say has no other explanation than a changing environment. 

"No other explanation" does not equal cause.  It is irresponsible and illogical to make such a leap to say measured changes in climatic conditions caused changes in bird species. 

They observed these changes and created a new hypothesis which posits the changes were caused by climate changes.  Great...now design and conduct an experiment to test that hypothesis...

Be wary of bias in interpretation which pushes a specific agenda.

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From Science Advances website,  Nov, 2021 issue

Morphological consequences of climate change for resident birds in intact Amazonian rainforest

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abk1743

 IMHO the above is good STEM discussion material for the study of birds.  I was not aware of Bergmann's (1847) rule for latitudinal variation in body mass of native bird species.

Another interesting topic would be the effect of wildfires on migration.

When we get around to fixing the MB program, I hope we STEM it up and enrich the learning experience and not just rehash school, in other words, bring our O-game* back to school Monday morning.

For example, say Sheldon Scout returns from a weekend campout along a hawk migration path and on Monday raises his hand in BIO class. "My patrol observed a raptor migration on our campout . Say do you know raptors don't whiffle, they kettle ... yeah they use thermals like the sailplanes we saw this summer. Could have been close to a hundred, but they were not all the same species. ... We estimated the height most climbed and theorized where the thermal ended - cold air.  We think different raptors cooperate in migration while still competing for food...What do you think? ....We did not see any kestrels, our merit badge counselor has not seen any this season either, he was concerned about that. ... Did you know the kestrel is getting even smaller both size and population. My merit badge counselor thinks owls are the Pluto of raptors. What did he mean by that?" ...all of sudden 7th period BIO and scouting become interesting.

My $0.01,

O-game = Outdoor game

America's Smallest Falcon is Getting Smaller

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/americas-smallest-falcon-is-getting-smaller/

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2 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

From Science Advances website,  Nov, 2021 issue

Morphological consequences of climate change for resident birds in intact Amazonian rainforest

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abk1743

 IMHO the above is good STEM discussion material for the study of birds.  I was not aware of Bergmann's (1847) rule for latitudinal variation in body mass of native bird species.

Another interesting topic would be the effect of wildfires on migration.

When we get around to fixing the MB program, I hope we STEM it up and enrich the learning experience and not just rehash school, in other words, bring our O-game* back to school Monday morning.

For example, say Sheldon Scout returns from a weekend campout along a hawk migration path and on Monday raises his hand in BIO class. "My patrol observed a raptor migration on our campout . Say do you know raptors don't whiffle, they kettle ... yeah they use thermals like the sailplanes we saw this summer. Could have been close to a hundred, but they were not all the same species. ... We estimated the height most climbed and theorized where the thermal ended - cold air.  We think different raptors cooperate in migration while still competing for food...What do you think? ....We did not see any kestrels, our merit badge counselor has not seen any this season either, he was concerned about that. ... Did you know the kestrel is getting even smaller both size and population. My merit badge counselor thinks owls are the Pluto of raptors. What did he mean by that?" ...all of sudden 7th period BIO and scouting become interesting.

My $0.01,

O-game = Outdoor game

America's Smallest Falcon is Getting Smaller

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/americas-smallest-falcon-is-getting-smaller/

That study has some strange omissions, like the fact that the Amazon has also lost 20% of its acreage/habitat in the past 30 years or so, but the Bird Study badge, along with many badges and rank requirements, are desperately in need of updating and revamping. We truly do need more outdoors in scouting, and what is offered needs to be more relevant, up to date, and field oriented. 

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1 hour ago, yknot said:

That study has some strange omissions, like the fact that the Amazon has also lost 20% of its acreage/habitat in the past 30 years or so, but the Bird Study badge, along with many badges and rank requirements, are desperately in need of updating and revamping. We truly do need more outdoors in scouting, and what is offered needs to be more relevant, up to date, and field oriented. 

Agreed.  Overall, I think BSA is missing the boat on instilling a mindset of stewardship.

Culture question...do you and your Scouts raise your Scout sign when repeating the Outdoor Code?  If not, what is the subliminal message?  (I know many who do not, and think it inappropriate to do so because it is not prescribed so in the Scout Handbook.)

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1 minute ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Agreed.  Overall, I think BSA is missing the boat on instilling a mindset of stewardship.

Culture question...do you and your Scouts raise your Scout sign when repeating the Outdoor Code?  If not, what is the subliminal message?  (I know many who do not, and think it inappropriate to do so because it is not prescribed so in the Scout Handbook.)

We do the Scout Oath, then the Scout Law, and then the Outdoor Code.  The sign is up for all three, as they are done consecutively.

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17 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Agreed.  Overall, I think BSA is missing the boat on instilling a mindset of stewardship.

 

Sadly, it has missed a great opportunity to be the nation's guide to the outdoors, most tragically during the pandemic. There are so many partnerships that could have been leveraged with NPS, conservation groups, and reimagining the outdoors as the scouting world's classroom.  So many struggling scout camps that could have become scouting branded community outdoor resources for recreation and learning.  

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37 minutes ago, yknot said:

Sadly, it has missed a great opportunity to be the nation's guide to the outdoors, most tragically during the pandemic. There are so many partnerships that could have been leveraged with NPS, conservation groups, and reimagining the outdoors as the scouting world's classroom.  So many struggling scout camps that could have become scouting branded community outdoor resources for recreation and learning.  

In the 80's the BSA did just that when we worked with the Bureau of Land Management to formulate Leave No Trace (LNT). The BSA had the opportunity to lead LNT but did not.  In the 90's, NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) took over LNT with the US Forest Service.  Other government partners joined. Government funding of these education programs was always a problem. which lead to the creation in 1994 of  LNT, a non-profit educational program which marketed courses to many groups including the BSA.

More details at this link

https://lnt.org/sites/default/files/Leave_No_Trace_History_Paper.pdf

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13 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

"No other explanation" does not equal cause.  It is irresponsible and illogical to make such a leap to say measured changes in climatic conditions caused changes in bird species. 

@InquisitiveScouter, in causal modeling, it is irresponsible to suggest that variables that have not been measured would take precedence without identifying exactly what hasn’t been measured and how much hasn’t been explained. So, for example, if you say the changes in some species could be explained by some non-climate related variable. The argument only holds water if the de-tractor names the causal variable (e.g. vampire zombies) and the degree to which it impacts the outcome (e.g. they sucked the brains of 10 of the 15000 birds examined, although interesting, does not make it a causal factor). In other words, saying ornithologists are taking cheap shots is exactly what someone who can only make cheap shots would say. Anybody with something credible to say would propose a mediator, its magnitude, and any assumptions underlying its proposition.

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I wanted to expand my comment about STEM. In the back of merit badge pamphlets there is a useful bibliography and list of merit badge committee (or is it subcommittee?) members (experts) who authored the content and requirements.  In the field, we have merit badge counselors whose expertise ranges from hobbyist to expert with perhaps a few wannabees.  Never shall the two groups communicate directly.

Sure a MBC could fill in Form 512-130 with her/her comments, send it to National, and ...

But why not set up a direct online dialog between the Committee members who authored the merit badge and those who counsel it? Try a pilot of two or three merit badges to start.

"Merit" badges - STEM them UP, not dumb them down.

Another $0.02,

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9 hours ago, qwazse said:

@InquisitiveScouter, in causal modeling, it is irresponsible to suggest that variables that have not been measured would take precedence without identifying exactly what hasn’t been measured and how much hasn’t been explained. So, for example, if you say the changes in some species could be explained by some non-climate related variable. The argument only holds water if the de-tractor names the causal variable (e.g. vampire zombies) and the degree to which it impacts the outcome (e.g. they sucked the brains of 10 of the 15000 birds examined, although interesting, does not make it a causal factor). In other words, saying ornithologists are taking cheap shots is exactly what someone who can only make cheap shots would say. Anybody with something credible to say would propose a mediator, its magnitude, and any assumptions underlying its proposition.

@qwazse, no!

If I took a cheap shot (your cheap shot description of my comment), it was at the reporter who cherry-picked things from the study to drive an agenda (bias) of pushing the narrative of "human-caused climate change" up front, but then later in the report equivocates and relates what the researches actually said...

"The researchers’ data showed links among temperature trends, precipitation trends and body sizes.

Now, the question is: What, precisely, is happening and why?

It’s not clear whether the species’ genetics are evolving to adapt to a new climate.

“Evolution could happen on this time scale,” said a co-author of the study, Phil Stouffer, a professor at the Louisiana State University School of Renewable Natural Resources. “It’s a really important question to understand.”

It’s also unclear what benefit the birds get from the changes to their bodies."

If you read the study (I did, after you accused me of a cheap shot) you'll see the researchers do get around to being intellectually honest in some of their findings...

"Because the time trend for mass—but not for wing and especially not for mass:wing—mostly faded after controlling for seasonal temperature, it is possible that lower bird mass is a plastic response to changing climate whereas lower mass:wing and longer wings are an adaptive compensation with a yet unresolved mechanism.  {emphasis added}

Here is a link to the actual study...https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abk1743 (also provided above by @RememberSchiff)

As to your causal modeling comment, here are a few other variables which the study does not address:

1) Changes in resource availability (i.e., food sources) which drive birds to fly farther in search of scarcer sustenance for themselves and their offspring.  Although the researchers found birds changed across most foraging guilds (foraging guilds relates to adult food sources)...ornithologists estimate 96 % of birds feed live insects to their young.  So...did the loss of rainforest habitat, agriculture, pesticides, smoke, dust, etc. change the availability of insect food sources for young so that all foraging guilds had to fly farther to get food to rear their young, and body sizes changed to accommodate this?  The study doesn't address this plausibility.

2) Another possibility: the birds were going to change anyway, irrespective of precipitation or temperature changes.  The data goes back four decades and shows a trend toward smaller size.  Since we don't have data for the past millennium or so (pick your time period), we cannot say whether all the bird species changes were already trending, and those trends were just continuing.

3)  Did observed rapid changes in the earth's magnetic field affect the birds' navigational abilities, so that they have to fly more or less than previous decades? https://ssec.si.edu/stemvisions-blog/how-do-birds-navigate  https://earthsky.org/earth/earths-magnetic-field-change-faster-thought/  The study doesn't address that...

Are those credible enough for you??  If not, I can cite more...without pursuing a PhD in Ornithology.

 

 

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13 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

We do the Scout Oath, then the Scout Law, and then the Outdoor Code.  The sign is up for all three, as they are done consecutively.

When I took the LNT Master Educator Course, I posed this idea to the one of BSA's lead guys for LNT (name withheld).  Simply this...if BSA really wants to run a golden thread of the "ideal" of environmental stewardship throughout the program, then they need to make one simple change to say we should use the Scout sign when repeating the Outdoor Code.  Give it as much weight as the Oath and Law...

Currently, my SHB says "Give the Scout sign each time you say the Scout Oath and Scout Law."  Not a thing about the Outdoor Code in that section, yet the OC is a promise we make..."As an American, I will do my best to ..." 

Learning and explaining it are also incorporated into the rank requirements, which are good steps.

I have visited several units that do not recite the OC, and some who do but reflexively lower their Scout sign before repeating it.

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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

I have visited several units that do not recite the OC, and some who do but reflexively lower their Scout sign before repeating it.

In my  36 years being involved with Boy Scouts/Scouts BSA, only 1, again ONLY 1, has ever said the Outdoor Code as a part of their opening and/or closing ceremony. They do keep the Scout Sign up for it.

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3 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

In my  36 years being involved with Boy Scouts/Scouts BSA, only 1, again ONLY 1, has ever said the Outdoor Code as a part of their opening and/or closing ceremony. They do keep the Scout Sign up for it.

Years ago one of my scouts, in uniform, was at a restaurant with his father before our meeting. An elderly gentleman as he was leaving said "If you can recite the Outdoor Code, I will pay for your dinner"  The scout stood up and proudly recited the OC. It has been part of the opening  in the troop for generations.

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  • RememberSchiff changed the title to Bird Study MB and Climate Change and Outdoor Code

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