ACROSS SCOTLAND, thousands of children will now be filling up bird feeders, turning classrooms into bird hides and creating wildlife friendly bakes in preparation for watching and counting the birds in their school grounds for the 2019 RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch.

The Birdwatch – which takes place during the first half of the spring term from January 2 to February 22 – is a chance for children to discover the nature that lives in their local community, by spending an hour watching and counting the birds that visit their outdoor space, before sending the results to the RSPB.

With close to a million school children taking part since its launch in 2002, the RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch is the perfect opportunity for schools to get outside, learn and make their first discoveries in nature.

Last year, over 5000 children and teachers took part counting birds across Scotland. The blackbird was the most common playground visitor in Scotland, with 83% schools spotting one during their watch. Robins, house sparrows and blue tits were some of the prominent species spotted in Scotland.

RSPB Scotland education officer Tremaine Bilham said: “Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a fun and accessible way for children of all ages to engage with the nature around them by taking part in a citizen science project. It’s important for children to get outside and learn about their local wildlife, and this offers pupils a flexible opportunity to learn outside the classroom. The data your class collects will feed into a national data set that will directly impact the conservation work we do at the RSPB.

“Nature can have a positive impact on physical health, wellbeing, and education. Big Schools’ Birdwatch is an amazing opportunity for offering these experiences to young people.”

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 to take part, with the flexibility to run it as a one off or as the centrepiece of a cross-curricular study, project work or a way for the children to improve their outdoor space.

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The Big Schools' Birdwatch is the school version of the Big Garden Birdwatch – claimed to be the world's biggest garden wildlife survey. That takes place over three days on January 26, 27 and 28. Further information can be found on the RSPB website