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Patrol Practices In Animal Observation

In the country, send out the Scouts to find out by observation, and to report on such points as these:

How does a wild rabbit dig its hole ? When a lot of rabbits are alarmed, does a rabbit merely run because the others do, or does he look around to see what is the danger before he goes?

Does a woodpecker break the bark away to get at insects on a tree trunk, or does he pick them out of holes, or how does he get at them?

Does a trout when disturbed by people passing along the bank go up or down stream? Does he go away altogether or return to his place ?

If in a large town, take the Scouts to the Zoological Garden or to the Natural History Museum. About half a dozen animals would be quite enough to study for one day.

Get Patrols to find out all about their Patrol animals. Learn their calls. Discover their haunts, tracks and habits. If they are not local animals, study them in a museum or zoo.

Get each Patrol to keep an outdoors log for a month, then compare results. Each Scout should contribute something to the log, such as a note of something seen or a sketch of a bird or animal. Or have a nature scrap book, with cuttings from newspapers and magazines of nature photographs, notes on outdoor life, nature calendars, etc.

Encourage the taking of photographs. Even the cheapest camera can be used for showing the surroundings in which each kind of bird makes its nest.

Bird-feeding can be practised both in town and country, particularly in the winter. A window-sill feeding-tray in town can attract many different birds. The provision of water in summer is also important.

Build up a Patrol library of well-illustrated books for recognizing animals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects.

Try to get a pair of good field glasses for the Patrol so that the Scouts can learn the fun of watching birds and animals. Also introduce the Scouts to the use of the magnifying glass, and, if possible, the microscope. Any instrument attracts a boy, and the new world it opens up will fascinate many of the Scouts.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: Plants

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Insects

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