Schools take part in biggest survey of birdlife in UK

Schoolchildren across Eastbourne will be taking part in the biggest survey of birdlife in UK schools at the end of this month.

Running from January 21 until February 1, the Big Schools’ Birdwatch encourages children and their teachers to discover and learn about the birds that share their school environment.

Last year, 20 schools in the county took part in the nationwide survey with a total of 457 East Sussex school children getting involved.

This year schools in Eastbourne, Bexhill, Hove, Lewes, and Wadhurst have already registered to take part, but there is still plenty of time for schools to sign up at www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch

The survey also provides a purpose for their observations and helps the RSPB build a picture of birds visiting school grounds and the population changes they are experiencing.

In East Sussex, the blackbird was top of the league table as the most common visitor to playgrounds with the black-headed gull coming in second place and the carrion crow third.

Since its launch, the survey has grown in popularity and the RSPB has also introduced the Little Schools’ Birdwatch, especially designed for fives and under and the Really Big Schools’ Birdwatch for 11-14 year olds.

A host of curriculum-linked learning can flow from the survey, with plenty of flexibility built-in to run it as simply as teachers would like.

Some schools make the activity the centrepiece of a whole week devoted to learning about wild birds while others hold after-school wildlife clubs or as part of work to improve their school grounds.

For further information and to get hold of a free Big Schools’ Birdwatch teachers’ pack, visit the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch or ring 0300 456 8340. The hotline number will be operational until February 1.