In 1907 from the 31st July  to 9th August Baden-Powell organised an experimental summer camp to test his ideas in his book "Scouting for Boys" on Brownsea Island, a 500-acre, windswept tract in Poole Harbour off England's southern coast.

The camp consisted of 20 boys form all kinds of backgrounds. The boys were divided up into 4 Patrols called Curlews, Ravens, Wolves and Bulls. For patrol identification, the boys were given long, wool streamers in different colours to pin on their left shoulder - green for Bulls, blue for Wolves, yellow for Curlews, and red for Ravens. The senior boy in each patrol was assigned as Patrol Leader and was given a flag with the animal of their Patrol on it. Each patrol Leader was given full responsibility for the behaviour of his Patrol at all times, in camp and in the field. The Patrol was the unit to work or play, and each patrol was camped in a separate spot.

These are the patrol animals as drawn by Baden-Powell





We honor the boys of Brownsea Island by using the same patrol names.

any of numerous medium-sized or large shorebirds belonging to the genus Numenius (family Scolopacidae) and having a bill that is decurved, or sickle-shaped, curving downward at the tip. There are eight species. Curlews are streaked, gray or brown birds with long necks and fairly long legs. They breed inland in temperate and sub-Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and migrate far south. During migration, they frequent dry uplands, where they feed on insects and seeds; wintering birds occupy marshes and coastal mud flats, where they probe for worms and fiddler crabs.  Closely related to the American Sandpiper.
The common raven is a member of a family of birds known as the Corvidae, which includes jays, crows, and magpies. The raven is found throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere in many types of habitats.  The range up to 24" from beak to end of tail. The raven is the largest species of songbird and largest all-black bird in the world. The raven can only be confused with a hawk or crow. Ravens have large, stout bills, shaggy throat feathers, and wedge-shaped tails, visible best when in flight .
The wolf is the largest wild member of the Canidae family. It is an ice age survivor originating around 300,000 years ago. The wolf shares a common ancestry with the domestic dog. Wolves are typically predators in the ecosystems they occupy. Wolves have thrived in temperate forests, deserts, mountains, tundra, taiga, grasslands, and even urban areas.

Though once abundant over much of Eurasia and North America, the wolf inhabits a very small portion of its former range because of widespread destruction of its territory, human encroachment, and the resulting human-wolf encounters that sparked broad extirpation.

A bull is a grown male of domestic cattle.  Most cattle have unbranched horns consisting of a horny layer surrounding a bone extension of the skull; these horns, unlike those of deer, are not shed. Some cattle are naturally hornless. Western, or European, domestic cattle are thought to be descended mainly from the aurochs, a large European wild ox domesticated during the Stone Age, extinct since 1627. A smaller species, the Celtic shorthorn, was the most important domestic ox of the Stone Age. The zebu, or Indian ox,  is the humped domestic species of Asia and Africa. Domestic cattle were first brought to the Western Hemisphere by Columbus on his second voyage.

Why did Baden-Powell pick these particular birds and beasts? Because, for thousands of years, they have connoted special traits and abilities. 

The Raven stands for WISDOM. A raven looks like a crow but is much larger. The reason it is considered wise goes back to the days when people of northern Europe believed in a god called Odin. He had two ravens. Every morning he sent them out in the world, and every night they returned to tell him everything that had happened. 

The Curlew stands for LOYALTY. It is a bird of lake and seashore, with long legs and a long, curved bill. When a curlew is wounded by an animal or a hunter, other curlews fly screaming over it to protect it and to warn off other curlews. 

The Bull stands for STRENGTH and DETERMINATION. When a bull has made up its mind to do certain things, it moves ahead to do them against all obstacles.

The Wolf stands for the SKILLS OF GOOD SCOUTING. The Indians used to call their best scouts by the name of "wolf" because a wolf can roam through the countryside seeing everything yet is seldom seen. 

Last Update: October 27, 2013