Click to play Read by Matthew
Watching birds can be great fun - there is lots of things you can learn. When watching birds you might see a rare bird, or you might see a common bird doing something interesting. For many years people have enjoyed watching and learning about birds. The BTO (British trust for Ornithology) collect the number and types of birds seen by a birdwatchers across the UK. This information is very useful to scientists. Birds live in our environment so by counting the number of birds scientist how "healthy" the environment is. If the number of birds goes down it might be a sign that there are not enough insects for the birds to eat, or even worse pollution in the environment. For example the number of birds seen on farmland has been going down very quickly since 1980's. Some scientists think that this is because farmers use too many harmful chemicals.
RSPB - The BIG Schools Birdwatch
Every year the RSPB hold one of the biggest bird counts - the BIG Schools Birdwatch. This is when school children get the chance to watch and count the number of birds that they see in their school grounds. The bird count can tell scientists at the RSPB which birds are doing well, and any that are not doing well. The scientist might look at the weather, amount of food, type of nesting places, or something else to see what things might be changing the numbers of birds.
What can you do? The RSPB bird count happens in January every year, so remind your teaching in November to sign up. Perhaps ask your teacher to sign up to the BTO's Birdtrack to put your class recordings on all year round? There are already schools and teachers registered.
Taking part | BTO - British Trust for Ornithology
Another tip for the whole class might be to make a Nature Diary - fill in all your wildlife sightings. Then the diary can be kept for the next class to compare one year to the next. A Nature diary will be interesting to watch the changes in the seasons as well as a nice reminder of special school visitors![/fusion_text]