SCHOOLCHILDREN across East Lancashire are now being urged to stare out of the classroom window.

The RSPB has launched its ‘Big Schools’ Birdwatch’ project across the region, which will see youngsters taking part in the world’s biggest school wildlife survey.


Running until February 13, the survey encourages schoolchildren of all ages, and their teachers, to count the birds in their school grounds for an hour.

Their findings will help experts build a picture of bird populations and monitor any changes in the area.

The bird charity’s regional youth development officer for the north, Siobhan McGuigan, said: “Taking part in the RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a fantastic excuse to stare out of the classroom window and discover much more about the wildlife which visits your playground.

“It only takes an hour and can be held any time between now and February 13.

“By keeping a look out and making a note of the different kinds of birds, children will not only improve their observation skills and enjoy a great learning experience, but they will also be encouraged to help to give nature a home, which is fantastic.”

Last year, more than 70,000 pupils and teachers across the UK took part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch, which revealed the blackbird as the most commonly-seen bird in school grounds.

The RSPB has also produced specially designed resources for under-fives, children aged five to eleven and for those aged 11 and above.

Siobhan added: “There’s plenty of flexibility for schools to run the survey as simply as they would like, or as the centrepiece of cross-curricular studies, project work or as part of work to improve their school grounds.

“It’s fun, easy and simple to set up, it works for all ages and even if it’s a dull, rainy January day, you can still gaze out of the classroom window and see a flash of colour.

“We hope as many schools as possible in Lancashire will take part in this great event and, don’t forget, the Birdwatch can also be adapted for youth groups such as Brownies and Cubs.”

There is still time for schools to sign up to take part in the Birdwatch. Teachers, helpers or children don’t need to be experts to take part in the survey.

Everything a teacher needs to plan a fantastic Birdwatch, and develop their children’s knowledge and interest in the birds they see every day, is available to download, including guidance notes, recipes, things to make and counting charts.

The RSPB is the UK’s biggest nature conservation charity, with a history dating back to 1889.

It focuses on conserving the UK’s wildlife and restoring and protecting habitats, but also works internationally in key areas to protect birds and other wildlife.

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Top species of birds in playgrounds: 1 Blackbird, 2 Starling, 3 Carrion crow, 4 Wood pigeon, 5 House Sparrow, 6 Black-headed gull, 7 Blue tit, 8 Common gull, 9 Magpie, 10 Robin.