SCHOOLCHILDREN across East Sussex are being invited to take part in the biggest survey of birdlife in UK schools this winter as the RSPB marks ten years of its Big Schools’ Birdwatch.
The activity runs from January 24 to February 4 and encourages children and teachers to discover and learn about the birds that share their school environment.
Last year 11 local schools took part in the nationwide survey with a total of 233 children getting involved in counting birds. Primary schools and groups included Rotherfield; Park Mead, Hailsham; Barcombe; Burwash; Fourth Lewes Cubs and Wadhurst Cubs; Grays, Newhaven; Cuckmere House, Seaford; Little Poppets Nursery and Wilko’s after school holiday club, Seaford.
Sophie McCallum, RSPB spokeswoman said: “For ten years youngsters have joined in counting the birds in their school grounds.
“As well as contributing to our understanding of the changes in bird numbers, Big Schools’ Birdwatch does a fantastic job of inspiring thousands of children about nature.”
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 starling was the most common visitor to playgrounds with blue tits coming in second place and woodpigeons third.
Since its launch in 2002 the survey has grown in popularity and last year the RSPB introduced for the first time the Little Schools’ Birdwatch especially designed for fives and under.
A host of curriculum-linked learning can flow from the survey, with plenty of flexibility to run it as simply as teachers would like.
Some schools make the activity the centrepiece of a week devoted to learning about wild birds while others hold after-school wildlife clubs or as part of work to improve their school grounds.
A free schools pack emphasises having fun and joining in. It includes guidance notes, a colour bird identification poster, counting chart and survey form.
Sophie added: “All you need to do to take part is watch and count the birds in your school grounds for one hour then send results back saying what you saw.”