Plea for children to begin watching their gardens

Shetland schoolchildren and their teachers are taking part in a major birdwatching survey on behalf of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch survey, which runs until 30th January, is aimed at establishing which birds are most common in school grounds.

Last year, almost 50,000 children and teachers from 1,500 schools took part, revealing the starling as the most frequently spotted visitor. Over 64,000 birds were counted from 60 different species ranging from house sparrows and blue tits to siskins and kestrels.

No Shetland schools sent in their records for 2008, but this year RSPB field teacher Linda Davis will be visiting various schools to help.

All pupils need to do to take part is watch and count the birds in their school grounds for one hour, then send one set of results back to the RSPB detailing what they saw. All the results are then put together to create an overview of which birds are making the most of school grounds across the UK.

No birdwatching expertise is necessary for teachers, helpers or children and the RSPB has produced a free schools pack containing everything a teacher will need. The emphasis is on having fun and joining in. The pack includes guidance notes, a full colour bird identification poster, counting chart and survey form.

Schools may contact the RSPB Sumburgh Head office (01950) 460800 to arrange a visit from Linda Davis and can find further information at


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.