RSPB Schools Birdwatch at Saint Mary’s Catholic Primary School
Birdwatching in the school grounds
All the children at Saint Mary’s have been busy outside with their binoculars and ID charts during the RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch, which this year ran from 5 Jan to 13 February 2015.
Before any birdwatching began, Mrs Patti Pinto (of Congleton based Eco learning) and Mrs Rebecca Franklin, a parent (both School Governors) spent an hour with the children in Year 6 making fat balls to hang on their outdoor willow structure and in the orchard. Everyone had very messy hands at the end, but big beautiful fat balls full of delicious seeds for the birds to eat during the cold weather. The children learnt more about birds using the resources from the RSPB and created posters with their own drawings of their favourite bird.
This is the 5th year data have been collected by the children as part of their biodiversity eco-topic. Led by Patti, children from all classes spent an hour per class surveying birds observed in their grounds. Birds spotted included blackbirds, crows, gulls, sparrows, pigeons, robins, magpies, blue tits, and great tits. These birds have featured in the top 15 in recent years. This year, pupils in Year 2 were thrilled to see four pied wagtails on the playground during their hour.
One of the outcomes of the Big Schools’ Birdwatch is that it enables us to create a snapshot of how birds are doing around the UK. If we find that they are struggling this is an indicator that other animals and wildlife may also be in danger. In 2014, over 75000 children from 2000 schools took part.
Birds play an important part in their ecosystem as many plants rely on them for seed dispersal.
Birds are important for keeping the population of the living creatures they feed on under control, such as insects including worms and spiders.
Birds are also important links in the food chain, being prey to mammals and larger birds.
Mrs Pinto said, “The children all enjoyed themselves even though it was often cold and windy. One day it even started snowing on us. We didn’t mind as we were all wrapped up warmly and were excited looking for our feathered friends.”