Get twitching while at school

The RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch runs from January 2 to February 23. Picture: David McHugh (
The RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch runs from January 2 to February 23. Picture: David McHugh (

Budding birdwatchers are being urged to get twitching at school.

The RSPB has just launched its Big Schools Birdwatch, which aims to help children get the bug for nature.

The scheme, which begun on Tuesday and will run until February 23, gives children the chance to put down their textbooks and get outside. They can get to grip with goldfinches and blackbirds while learning about the nature that lives in their local community.

The birdwatch involves children spending an hour watching and counting the birds that visit their outdoor space. The results are sent to the RSPB.

The scheme has got the backing of Kate Struthers who is the RSPB Aire Valley visitor operations manager. Kate, who works at St Aidan’s nature reserve near Swillington and its sister site Fairburn Ings, said: “The Big Schools Birdwatch is a great way to get children interested in nature and learning about the world around them.

“It’s a really simple way to ignite that first spark of enthusiasm for nature and wildlife. The birdwatch is the perfect chance for them to observe nature first hand, make exciting discoveries, and the results help provide our scientists with valuable information.

“Being outdoors has a positive effect on children’s physical health and emotional wellbeing but, sadly, children today are spending less and less time outside. Here at Fairburn Ings and St Aidan’s we see children, visiting with their school or their families, having so much fun outdoors. But you can spot a goldfinch, blue tit or robin at your school too.”

See for more information on how to take part in the Big Schools Birdwatch.