Robins and blackbirds we could spot easily at our bird feeding table, but every other visitor remained nameless. ‘Do you need to know their names in time for the Big Schools’ Birdwatch on the 25th January?’ This is an annual citizen science event organised by the UK charity, the RSPB, to help inform and enage the public about caring for local birds. Whilst spotting and recording birds, the public, either individuals at home or whole school communities can contribute their data to help the RSPB in their work.
The RSPB’s website is an excellent place to start:
Lots of downloadable ID sheets, a live webcam, and many other resources to use freely.
With their live bird webcam on the interactive board, we left it on all afternoon to observe the birds and other creatures visit a feeding station whilst we poured over bird facts from information sheets.
We started by designing a garden to attract birds and discussed essential features such as feeding stations, trees, a water source and how to deter cats.
When this was drawn, we selected common garden birds from the infomation sheets and carefully drew these, making sure to apply the correct watercolour. These birds were cut out and placed on the garden picture. Every bird was labelled with their name. By the end of day everyone could identify at least twelve UK birds.
This was a fun and easy way to introduce young children to the fascinating world of birds. We are definitely ready for the birdwatching count next week!