Our Flower Patch

Inspiring a new generation of growers


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Bird spotting in the flower patch

song thrush in the snow

Song thrush in the snow

Name a bird!

Go on. Name another one.

We’ll bet you already know what this is.

robin

Robin

 

But you’re probably not going to see one of these in your school playground or garden.

parrot bird identification for primary school

A parrot at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

 

Over the next few weeks the RSPB are holding their annual Big Birdwatch for home gardens and schools. It’s easy to get involved. You’ll find all the details about the schools birdwatch here and the home one here

Working on a healthy flower patch will provide you with plenty of opportunities to spot birds and being able to identify and name the birds you see is fun. Sadly it’s a skill which is in decline nowadays but it’s a great way to teach close observation skills to young children.

How many birds can you name? Can you recognise all those that you can name? I guess, unless we are ardent bird watchers, then we all have our handful of birds we can name and identify. I’m ok with the more colourful characters, but tend to get a bit stuck with anything small and brown. I still think it is very “unfair” that the males of the species are often easier to spot and correctly identify, whereas I tend to be a bit confused about some of the females.

Do you have some regular feathered visitors to your school grounds or garden? Do you already feed the birds?

Hopefully if you already have some bird visitors then you can spend a bit of time with your children watching them. If they are rather scarce on the ground, then we have some bird feeding activities coming up to help encourage them to become more regular visitors. The RSPB has a host of activities too.

Have a look in your library for any bird identification books or posters you can find.

We have created a Pinterest board featuring some common British garden birds so that you can use the images in your activities. If you have any other birds that regularly visit your grounds or garden then look online or on Pinterest for images of those also.

There is a free RSPB bird quiz available on my ipad! I wonder how many I can complete?

There are also some free apps and some to buy for bird identification. Let us know if you find any especially useful.

The RSPB even has a bird version of top trumps on their website.

You can download their bird cards. These come with instructions on how to play Big Card Bird watch but you could easily use these for other activities. They have lovely illustrations of 30 British birds.

chaffinch

Chaffinch

Make an event out of bird watching. Build a bird hide if you are feeling adventurous. It doesn’t need to be high tech. A few poles and a tarpaulin will do. Build it a few days before you want to do your bird spotting so that your feathered friends are used to it and position it close to a source of bird food. Then quietly sit in it and wait. Alternatively, turn your classroom into a twitcher’s paradise. Obviously adding in a drink and a snack of nuts, seeds and fruit is a bonus for children and provides an opportunity to discuss with them why it’s important to feed the birds at this time of year and what food birds need to survive.

Now when it comes to bird calls … I’m lost! An area for personal development I think! Perhaps I should make a New Year’s resolution to listen to Tweet of the Day.

We provide outdoor based lesson plans and activities for teachers and home schoolers on a weekly basis to our members. It’s a fun and affordable way to explore growing, nature, wildlife and the outdoors with primary school children. Check out our website for details. We’d love to welcome you into our club in 2015.