How are you getting ready for your Birdwatch?

The months of planning and waiting are finally over, and there's one week left to go until the start of Big Schools' Birdwatch 2012!

We'd love to hear how you're getting ready for the Big Schools' Birdwatch with your class or group - are you trying something new, or do you have some tried and tested techniques which never fail?

Here's a thread for you to share your ideas, and let us know how you are planning it.....

  • We made some birdcakes today, the kids loved doing it so much, that we decided we would make some more for them to take home and use in their garden. We're doing the actual Birdwatch next week, hopefully we'll see some birds! Some of them will bring in their own binoculars, and others are going to camouflage themselves. We've been doing a lot in class about how important it is to listen and look, try to blend in and be still!

    I'm thinking of setting up a hide somehow, does anyone have any tips on how to do this?

  • In reply to moomin:

    Wow - sounds great! I visited a school (reception class) for last year's BSBW and they had made a hide, they're doing the same this year too. It was set up in the classrrom, net to a window which looked out at their feeder station. They used some of their role play equipment, plus large pieces of card (old boxes), which they then painted green and covered that and the top in camouflage netting. They even cut a door out - fine for 5 year olds but more challenging for me! There was enough room for 3 children to sit in there with a small table and their tally chart, as well as pictures and names of the birds they were likely to see. Hope that helps!

  • In reply to moomin:

    If you fancy putting together an outdoor hide, one school we worked with last year draped some army camouflage material over the front of a gazebo structure in the wildlife garden for some older children to use. They use some tarpaulin for the roof so they could still use it if the weather was a bit inclement. If you don't have army camouflage material, then maybe try using some tarpaulin on the front too with a narrow window cut out or a couple of large dark coloured sheets? I have some photos from the school which I could e-mail you if that would explain things better! They said it worked really well for the year 6 children, although they still had to be quiet inside!

    Anna Keen, Voluntering Development Officer (Midlands Region)

  • In reply to Anna Keen:

    Some schools have converted large sheds to bird hides in their grounds.  I recall a school in Leeds that used the carpentry skills of one of the parents to make an excellent hide.  This useful feature overlooking the school's wildlife garden and feeding station was very popular, so there was a rota for children to use the hide at lunchtimes and breaks.

  • In reply to Barrie Cooper:

    There's a good looking hide in this clip www.bbc.co.uk/.../16650359

  • In reply to Charlotte Pledger:

    Peidiwch anghofio bod modd i ysgolion Cymraeg eu hiaith archebu pecyn Gwylio Adar yr Ysgol dwyieithog, cyswllt perffaith i’r Cwriciwlwm Cymraeg

    Don’t forget Welsh medium schools can request a bi-lingual Big Schools Bird watch pack, the perfect link to Curriculum Cymraeg.

  • In reply to carlyjenkins:

    Thanks for all the great advice everyone! Anna and Charlotte, you inspired me to make a temporary hide out of an old tent I had in the garage, we had great fun sticking bits of foliage to it and some of our own cut out birds. The kids loved hiding in it of course, I had to make a rota so everyone got a turn inside! We did our birdwatch this morning and all the class loved it. Looks like it might develop into a regular after school club.

    Definately need to think about getting a permanent hide somehow. Barrie - maybe I should put a plea out to the parents, because my carpentry skills are not good!

  • In reply to moomin:

    Hi Moomin, it's sounds like you have been busy getting into the spirit of the birdwatch! If you are thinking of starting an afterschool club, we have some fantastic resources available through our school membership which will get your students experiencing all the other wildlife your school has to offer too.

    www.rspb.org.uk/wildlifeclub

  • Our Rainbows group had great fun - we played run around games to help them learn what some common garden birds look like, they looked at a selection of food and decided what would be good to feed the birds and what they shouldn't put out. To finish they each made an apple bird feeder by sticking black sunflower seeds into an apple - this was really simple, easy for them to do and take home - the girls loved it.