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Birdwatching at school

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 09:14
Janet Hickinbottom

We are in the middle of the Big Schools’ Birdwatch (until February 17th) and the RSPB has masses of resources on their website.

But you don’t need to restrict your birdwatching to one period of the year. Indeed, monitoring birds in the school grounds or at a bird table provides excellent opportunities for maths activities – graphs of how many/how frequent – for D&T making bird feeders - for geography studies where do our bird visitors migrate to and from/what is the impact of the seasons? Then there’s art and sketching the different birds – wouldn’t that make a fantastic wall display?

Countryside Classroom provides lots of links for birdwatching activities.

Try the Field Studies Council’s Top 50 Garden Birds chart for identification purposes.

If you want to make bird feeders, there are many different types you can try with your pupils. Use a pumpkin and find instructions in Pumpkin Activities . Or you can use a plastic bottle: see Build a Bottle Feeder. In FACE’s Springtime Activities online booklet you can find various birdfeeders and a Hedgerow Birds game to get you pupils running round outside collecting “worms” whilst learning about camouflage, food chains and predator/prey relationships.

Watch this video called Wildlife – birds explaining which foods we can supply to attract birds.

Encouraging wildlife in your school garden from the RHS doesn’t just look at birds but considers ways to attract all sorts of wildlife and includes a wildlife gardening calendar.

It’s not just in the school garden that we need to care for birds, Farmers too are very keen to make sure bird life is encouraged on the farm. Watch the short video How Farmers Protect the Environment which explains how farmers care for the countryside, including its bird life. Another resource would make an excellent project in conjunction with a farm visit; Biodiversity Project highlights the work carried out by farmers but includes hands on science tasks so that pupils can find or monitor all kinds of biodiversity, including birds.

Finally, why not ask an expert to come into school to inspire your pupils about birdwatching and encouraging these essential creatures into the school environment? Try searching the People to Ask facility to see if any local organisations could offer this or contact your local RSPB or the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to find out if any volunteers would help your pupils to learn more about our beautiful birds.

Happy bird watching!

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Janet Hickinbottom
Our range of expertise covers farming, food and the countryside across the full range of ages and curriculum subjects. We are particularly keen to help schools access real working farms where science, maths, literacy, cooking and nutrition, enterprise and more can be learnt in a dynamic real-world context. We also...    Read More
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