Eagle-eyed school children to look out for the nation’s favourite birds

Jess Barrett

Monday 8 January 2018

  • The RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch – the world’s biggest schools’ wildlife survey – is back with thousands of children across Scotland expected to take part.
  • A recent survey of teachers and school children found that an overwhelming majority believed it was important to experience nature at school.
  • The Birdwatch is the perfect opportunity for school children to get outside, learn and make their first discoveries in nature.

Blackbirds, house sparrows and robins will be at the top of the checklist for thousands of school children across the Scotland as they return to school with the world’s biggest schools’ wildlife survey kicks off.

The RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch – which takes place during the first half of the spring term until 23 February – is a chance for children to put down their books and get outside to experience and learn about the nature that lives in their local community. The Birdwatch involves children spending an hour watching and counting the birds that visit their outdoor space, before sending the results in to the conservation organisation.

A recent survey of 200 teachers and 1200 school children from around the UK revealed that 96% teachers believed it was important for children to experience nature at school, while 77% of pupils agreed. With close to a million school children taking part since its launch in 2002, the RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch is the perfect opportunity for schools to get outside, learn and make their first discoveries in nature.

Last year, almost 7,000 children and teachers took part in Scotland. Blackbirds held onto their number one spot as the most common playground visitor with 87% of schools spotting one during their watch. Robins, house sparrows and woodpigeons all featured prominently in the results, as well as smaller birds such as blue tits, coal tits and wrens.

Laura Curtis-Moss, RSPB Scotland’s education officer said: “The Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a great way for children to engage with the nature around where they live and go to school as well as bring numeracy to life. It’s fun and easy to set up and take part, and works for all ages. This time of year when the weather can be rather dull and cold spotting birds either outside or from the classroom can bring an exciting flash of colour to the day.

“With children sadly spending less time outside in nature it’s really important that they are able to find out more about the natural world around them whenever possible. Nature can have such a positive impact on their physical health, emotional wellbeing and education and the Birdwatch is a perfect opportunity for them to experience their local nature first hand.”

For the first time the RSPB has partnered with Cbeebies favourites Twirlywoos to provide exciting new activities and resources specifically tailored to Early Years, to help get their mini Birdwatches off to a flying start.

The Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a free activity and only takes an hour to complete. Teachers can pick any day during the first half of the spring term to take part, with the flexibility to run it as a one off or as the centre piece of a cross-curricular study, project work or a way for the children to improve their outdoor space.

To take part in the Big Schools' Birdwatch and help the next generation of children start their own wildlife adventure visit here.

Last Updated: Monday 8 January 2018

Tagged with: Country: Scotland Country: Scotland Topic: 12 years+ Topic: 4-8 years Topic: 8-12 years Topic: Easy Topic: Winter Topic: Birds Topic: Experience nature Topic: Help nature Topic: Less than 2 hours Topic: Give Nature a home Topic: School Topic: Learn about wildlife Topic: Scotland Topic: Education stage Topic: Scotland