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Requirement 4


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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. non-native bird (introduced to North America from a foreign country since 1800)

birder.jpg

Your field guide is a small book you carry in your pocket or pack that shows the birds in an area. It points out key marks to help you tell one bird from another. This requirement makes sure you know how your field guide is organized.

Birds in a field guide are grouped by their families, so that all of the ducks are together, all of the hawks are together and so on. The families are arranged with the oldest species first and the more recent ones last. This is called "taxonomic order".

Suppose you see an owl, but might not be sure which species of owl it is. By turning to your field guide, you can then look through all of the owls in one section to figure out which one you saw.

All field guides include range maps, to show where different species can be found. Range maps help you eliminate which birds aren't normally in your area and can probably be ruled out of your puzzle.

You'll have to do this requirement offline. I haven't figured out how to remotely turn the pages of your field guide yet!

The field guide used most often to get started is Roger Tory Peterson's.  As you get more skilled you may wish to also use the ones by National Geographic and David Sibley. Peterson's is best to start with as it comes in separate versions for Eastern and Western North America, so you have less birds to sort through as you're trying to decide which bird you saw.

You'll probably want to buy your own copy so you mark it with notes, but if you can't, most public libraries have them for loan.

Requirement 5

Scouting for Birds