Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Children in Merseyside to spot the wildlife in their playgrounds

RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch – 5 January - 13 February

It’s back – the RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch has started, with children across Merseyside peering out of their classroom windows to take part in the world’s biggest school wildlife survey.

Running from 5 January-13 February 2015, the survey encourages schoolchildren of all ages, and their teachers, to count the birds in their school grounds for one hour of one day. Each school’s findings will help the RSPB’s experts to build a picture of bird populations and monitor any changes.

Last year, more than 70,000 pupils and teachers across the UK took part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch, which revealed the blackbird as the most commonly seen bird in school grounds, with 85% of schools seeing an average of five.

Now the RSPB is looking forward to receiving this year’s school wildlife sightings, which also contribute to the results of the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch – the biggest wildlife survey in the world, which takes place on 24-25 January.

Siobhan McGuigan, RSPB Regional Youth Development Officer in Northern England, said: “Taking part in the RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a fantastic excuse to stare out of the classroom window and discover much more about the wildlife which visits your playground. It only takes an hour and can be held anytime between now and 13 February.
“By keeping a look out and making a note of the different kinds of birds, children will not only improve their observation skills and enjoy a great learning experience, but they will also be encouraged to want to help to give nature a home, which is fantastic.”

There is still time for schools to sign up to take part in the Birdwatch. Teachers, helpers or children don’t need to be experts to take part in the survey. Everything a teacher would need to plan a fantastic Birdwatch, and develop their children’s knowledge and interest in the birds they see everyday, is available to download, including guidance notes, recipes, things to make and counting charts.

Siobhan added: “There’s plenty of flexibility for schools to run the survey as simply as they would like, or as the centrepiece of cross-curricular studies, project work or as part of work to improve their school grounds.

“It’s fun, easy and simple to set up, it works for all ages, and even if it’s a dull, rainy January day, you can still gaze out of the classroom window and see a flash of colour. We hope as many schools as possible in Merseyside will take part in this great event and, don’t forget, the Birdwatch can also be adapted for youth groups such as Brownies and Cubs.”

The RSPB has also produced specially designed resources for under-5s, children aged five to eleven and for those aged 11 and above.

For further information on Big Schools’ Birdwatch, visit and for more information on the Big Garden Birdwatch, visit

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