Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress

Prep join Big Garden Birdwatch

10 February 2017

As many of you are aware, the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch took place on the last weekend of January. All members of the school, from Westbourne through to Seniors, were encouraged to take part. In the run up to this event, many girls in Westbourne and Prep learned about common British garden birds through a variety of activities.

Reception classes collected pinecones and coated these in fat and seeds to make bird feeders to take home. At school, they enjoyed making models and paper bird snappers which taught them the typical colourings and markings of birds they may see in their gardens. The girls also created fact sheets about Blackbirds and Blue Tits in their lessons.

The girls in Year 2 completed independent research to extend their knowledge about the different types of birds found in Britain.

Year 4 made bird seed cakes in recycled yogurt pots to take home. Their threading skills were tested when they had to pass string through a tiny hole in the top of the yogurt pot but then came the fun (but messy) job of mixing all the ingredients together by squeezing them with their hands. The completed pots were sent home for their local birds to enjoy.

As part of their homework, Year 5 girls produced beautiful models, posters and fact sheets about various birds. Grace Smallwood created two lovely little blue tit models while Ruby Marshall constructed a bird house for a robin. Chiyevo Gwasha and Eleni Xydias both drew beautiful and accurate pictures of blue tits. Year 6 girls also carried out some research using iPads in school and turned these facts into well-presented posters.

In the week following the official birdwatch, many girls in years 1, 2 and 3 brought in the results from their at-home birdwatch. These results were analysed by girls in Years 5 and 6 and compared against the results from our in-school birdwatch. We found that the most common bird in girls’ gardens was the woodpigeon but the most common bird spotted at school was the blackbird.

The results have now been submitted to the RSPB where our data will combine with information from thousands of homes and schools from across the country. Scientists will then use this information to learn more about bird distribution and populations in the UK.

As an extension summation of all the activities and hard work our girls have been doing to learn more about endemic birds, we are looking forward to meeting some birds of prey next week in a special workshop.


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