The P4 pupils from Dromore Central Primary School became real scientists for the day when they took part in the world’s biggest birdwatch, organised annually by the RSPB.
Running from 21 January-1 February, the Big Schools’ Birdwatch encourages children and their teachers to discover and learn about the birds that share their school environment.
The pupils carried out a survey of the birds in their school grounds, although the snow was falling the pupils saw a great variety of species.
“Spotting the pigeons on top of the castle was the best bit,” said Scott Mulligan. “It was great fun getting outside with the binoculars.”
Karen Sheil, RSPB Education Development Officer said, “We are delighted to be able to bring this NIEA supported education programme to the school. Not only is the Big Schools Birdwatch exciting and great fun outdoors as you never know what you might spot, it gives RSPB valuable data on the birds living in school grounds right across Northern Ireland. Schools also find out about the birds living on their doorsteps. This helps them provide the correct food and nest boxes for them. “
No birdwatching expertise is necessary for teachers, helpers or children and the RSPB has produced a free schools pack containing everything a teacher will need. 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.
Don added: “All you need to do to take part is watch and count the birds in your school grounds for one hour, then send one set of results back to the RSPB telling us what you saw.
“This is an opportunity to take part in something huge, and not only can the children get involved at school – families can do the survey at home in their own gardens through our Big Garden Birdwatch. Whether you have seen several exotic species or just a few of the commonest birds, it doesn’t matter – all sightings are useful to us!”
For further information and to get hold of a free Big Schools’ Birdwatch teachers’ pack, visit the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch or ring 0300 456 8340. The hotline number will be operational until 1 February 2013.