How to get involved with birdwatching this winter
As the winter chill continues, there’s an opportunity for you and your class to connect with nature in a current and important way. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is set to host its annual Big Garden Birdwatch from January 26th to 28th this year. This event is more than just a simple observation of our feathered friends; it's a chance for your class to become active scientists, contributing to a nationwide effort in monitoring and protecting our avian companions.
At the heart of the RSPB's outreach efforts lies the Big Garden Birdwatch (BGBW). This annual event, taking place this year from January 26th to 28th, invites anyone in the UK to spend an hour counting the birds in their local green spaces. It's a community-driven initiative that transforms ordinary backyards and school grounds into scientific observation sites. By participating in the BGBW, you can become an integral part of a larger citizen science movement, contributing valuable data that aids in the understanding and conservation of bird populations.
Birdwatching isn't just a leisurely activity; it's a powerful tool for connecting students with the natural world. The act of observing and identifying birds enhances cognitive skills, encourages curiosity and instills a sense of wonder. By introducing your class to the art of birdwatching, you can provide them with a gateway to environmental awareness and conservation.
For the RSPB, conservation is especially important; since the event first took place in the 1970s, there have been some concerning trends in the populations of garden birds in the UK. Several factors contribute to changes in bird populations, including habitat loss, climate change, changes in land use and the availability of food. For example, the population of Song Thrushes has decreased by 80% since data collection began. The data collected through events like these allow researchers to identify these trends and take necessary conservation actions.
For teachers seeking to align their activities with KS1 and KS2 science lessons, the Big Garden Birdwatch offers a wealth of opportunities. From exploring habitats to understanding the life cycles of birds, the event seamlessly integrates with various learning objectives. Birdwatching becomes a hands-on, immersive experience that complements classroom teachings.
If you and your class would like to get involved, you can find out more by visiting the RSPB's website, and don’t forget to tag @DevelopExperts if you post any sightings on social media!