Schools urged to support Birdwatch

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Blackbirds, sparrows and robins are at the top of the checklist for thousands of school children across Argyll and the Isles as 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 February 23 – is a chance for children to put down their books and get outside to experience and learn about the nature in their 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 1,200 children from around the UK revealed 96 per cent of teachers believed it was important for children to experience nature at school, while 77 per cent of pupils agreed. With close to a million children taking part since its launch in 2002, the RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch is a perfect opportunity for youngsters to get outside 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 per cent of schools spotting one during their watch. Robins, house sparrows and woodpigeons all featured prominently, as well as smaller birds such as blue tits, coal tits and wrens.

For the first time the RSPB has partnered with Cbeebies favourites Twirlywoos to provide 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, with the flexibility to run it as a one-off or as a centrepiece of a cross-curricular study, project work or a way to improve their outdoor space.

To take part and help the next generation of children start their own wildlife adventure, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch.