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All About Birds

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IP Requirements Edit

Each interest project contains numerous activities, which are organized into four different categories: Skill Builders, Technology, Service Projects,  and Career Exploration.  By doing these activities, you will gain insights about yourself - your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes.  You will have a range of new experiences, and you will develop valuable  skills and expertise in specific areas. To earn an interest project award, you must complete at least seven activities as follows:

  • Two Skill Builders activities
  • One Technology activity
  • One Service Project activity
  • One Career Exploration activity
  • Two activities from any category that you choose

OR FOLLOW THE NEW VERSION of earning IPP's:

  • Do the one REQUIRED activity (or Skill Builder)
  • Do ONE activity of your choice for each of the THREE 

categories (LEARN, DO, SHARE) 

  • Design and do ONE activity of YOUR OWN
  • Create a short REFLECTION after you've completed all of the activities

Skill Builders

1. Have you ever wondered how birds fly? Find out about the mechanics of flight. Compare the anatomy and flight patterns of birds with the design,  construction, and aerodynamics of airplanes or gliders.

2. Birds can be identified by size, shape, color, flight patterns, vocalizations ("bird calls"), and behavior. Field marks or distinctive features of the bird  such as a stripe over the 
eye, bars on the wing, or a bright rump patch are  often used for identification purposes. Differences between male and female  birds are often very dramatic. Observe and make notes about five birds in your community. Use a field guide to identify each bird.

3. Birders learn to identify birds by sound as well as sight. This is especially helpful when a bird is hidden in dense foliage or perched high in a tree. Birds are usually most vocal early in the morning and at dusk. Learn to identify five  birds by their songs or call notes.

4. Birds have fascinating life histories. Many travel great distances in yearly  cycles of migration. Do a detailed study of 3 different types of birds: for  example, a song-bird, a bird of prey, and a waterfowl. Include in your study  vocalizations, flight patterns, nesting and feeding habits, and threats to  survival. Take notes and/or draw a map tracing its migration route.

5. Set up a bird-feeding station. Attract a variety of bids by providing different types of food, feeders, and watering devices. A trash-can lid on a post or a flowerpot saucer on the ground can be used to hold water. List and describe the  birds that come to the feeding station. Note diet preferences.

6. In addition to watching birds, many enjoyable hours may be spent capturing birds  artistically. Visit an art museum, natural history museum, or wildlife art gallery in which paintings or other depictions of birds are on display, or look at illustrations of birds in field guides. Next, create an original work of art, such as a woodcarving, drawing, or painting, or take a series of photographs of  birds.

Technology

1. Most birds are watched from a distance. Practice using binoculars, an important tool for birders, until you become comfortable locating perched birds and birds  in flight. Visit a store that carries binoculars. Compare the features - such as weight, design, and magnification - of several pairs of binoculars. Find out the meaning of center focusing, alignment, and field of view.

2. Specially designed traps or mist nets are used to capture birds for banding. A  captured bird is identified for age, sex, and physical condition. The bird is carefully fitted with a numbered leg band and released. Find out the name of a professional who bands birds' legs to learn about migratory routes, etc., or visit a wildlife refuge or nature center to learn about banding birds.

3. There are approximately 800 - 900 species of birds that have been seen in North  America. Serious birders keep a diary or life list of birds. Design a life list data-base or use a commercial birding software program to keep track of each  species of bird you see. Record the name of the bird, date and location seen,  and any other data such as the weather conditions, names of birding companions, and whether this is a rare sighting.  

4. Serious environmental problems such as the use of pesticides and loss of habitat have  been responsible for nearly destroying a variety of species, including the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, whopping crane, and California condor. Find out through  research or at a bird sanctuary/habitat how captive-breeding programs have helped to restore the populations of these endangered species. 

5. A spotting scope and tripod enable the serious birder to observe birds at a greater distance. A spotting scope is an excellent tool for watching waterfowl and nesting or perched birds. Find a person who is willing to teach you to use a spotting scope in the field. Use it to focus in on at least five species of birds.

 Service  Projects

1. Loss  of wildlife habitat, competition with non-native birds, and pesticides have threatened many birds. Work with a local Audubon chapter or other wildlife protection group to help restore an endangered bird species in your area.

2. Introduce a group of younger Girl Scouts to birding by taking them on an early  morning or late afternoon bird walk or bird-watch. Share your knowledge about  ways to identify birds and how to use binoculars and field guides. Make a list of the birds seen by the group.

3. Ornithology is the branch of zoology dealing with birds. Amateur birders have contributed to this field for many years by participating in organized bird  surveys designed to count numbers of individual birds or species. Join with your  local Audubon chapter or bird club to participate in a bird count or survey. Keep track of the birds you have seen.

4. Birds need food, water, nesting places, perches, and places to hide. Develop a  guide or poster with planting and feeding information for local property owners.

5. Volunteer at a local zoo or nature center that  offers opportunities to work directly with birds as an assistant keeper or  indirectly by educating the public about birds.

Career Exploration

1. Birds suffer injuries from being shot, poisoned, flying into buildings or radio towers, or even being hit by cars. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators work with  animals to nurse them back to health and return them to the wild. Find out where the nearest wildlife rehabilitator might be found. Interview her about her work.  If possible, work with her to restore a bird to health.

2. Veterinarians work with sick and injured animals, including birds. Visit a local  veterinarian and ask about the education and experience you would need to become  a veterinarian.

3. Investigate which colleges offer programs in ornithology, wildlife biology, wildlife management, or related fields of study. What are the admission  requirements? Basic course requirements?

4. Spend several hours shadowing an ornithologist, naturalist, or wildlife biologist at a nature center, zoo, or wildlife refuge. Learn about the training  needed, hiring process, and tasks of the job.

5. Find a local artist or wood-carver who specialized  in birds. Arrange to observe her at work. Ask questions about who commissions  and displays her work, what her training was, and her artistic techniques.

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