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The big birdwatch
Wood Pigeons were London's most popular visitor to schools
Wood Pigeons were London's most popular visitor to schools

London's children and teachers can become birdwatchers from the comfort of their classrooms and take part in the world's biggest bird survey, the RSPB Big Schools' Birdwatch.

The annual survey runs from 18 January to 1 February and encourages children and their teachers to identify and count the birds that share their school environment.

Last year's survey revealed that the most common bird in Greater London's schools was the wood pigeon with an average of 4.62 seen per school.

Feral pigeons and blackbirds completed the top three, with an average of 4.42 and 3.75 respectively.

The Big Schools' Birdwatch provides an opportunity for thousands of children to discover more about the birds visiting their schools.
Tim Webb, RSPB London

More than 5,000 schoolchildren from Greater London took part in last year's birdwatch. Nationally there were nearly 90,000 children and teachers taking part from more than 2,000 schools.

RSPB London spokesman Tim Webb said: "The activity is suitable for children of all ages and appeals to teachers because it's fun, easy and simple to set up."

RSPB BIG SCHOOLS' BIRDWATCH
A Robin
Across the UK nearly 90,000 children and teachers took part last year
More than 2,000 schools took part in 2009
The Wood Pigeon was most common bird visiting London schools
Feral pigeons were second, blackbirds third most common
The survey takes place from 18 January to 1 February 2010
For a free teacher's pack call 0300 456 8340 (calls charged at standard rate) and open until 28 January
For more information visit the RSPB website

The RSPB has found that feeding birds is an easy way to start teaching children about wildlife. Providing food and water brings birds close enough for children to observe their behaviour and colours.

Taking part

All schools' need to do to take part is watch and count the birds in their school grounds or a nearby public space for one hour.

Like other schools you can make the activity the centrepiece of a whole week devoted to learning about wild birds.

Remember to send one set of results to the RSPB.

Combined with the data gathered from the Big Garden Birdwatch, scheduled for 30 and 31 January, it gives the conservation charity a snapshot of bird numbers and species across the UK.

Tim added: "We want to hear about what's out there, all sightings are useful to us! Our online results form is an interactive computer programme that the whole class can use.

Blackbird
Blackbirds were the third most common sighting

It allows teachers and pupils to build graphs and charts using their own results and then compare them with others. It really brings to light the difference between rural and urban schools."

You don't need to be an expert twitcher as the RSPB has produced a free schools pack containing everything required. The emphasis is on having fun and joining in. The pack includes guidance notes, a full colour bird identification poster, counting chart and survey form.

Information

For further information about the Big Schools' Birdwatch, visit the RSPB website or for a free teacher's pack call 0300 456 8340 (calls charged at standard rate). The hotline number will be operational until 28 January 2010.




SEE ALSO
London's living gardens
30 Jun 09 |  Nature & Outdoors
'London is great for wildlife'
12 Aug 09 |  Nature & Outdoors
Climate 'accelerating bird loss'
19 May 08 |  Science & Environment
Feeding birds 'changes evolution'
03 Dec 09 |  Science & Environment
Birds at risk reach record high
13 May 09 |  Science & Environment
Songbirds sing cross-species duet
11 Sep 09 |  Science & Environment

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