Dunhurst take part in the RSPB Big Schools' Birdwatch

Bedales Prep, Dunhurst

Although currently engaged in a programme of online learning, pupils at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst had the chance to get closer to nature when they took part in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Big Schools’ Birdwatch for a sixth consecutive year.

For the entire week commencing 18 January, pupils spent their Outdoor Work lessons taking part in bird-related activities, including learning about birds, birdwatching, photographing birds and making bird boxes and feeders.

With pupils currently at home, Dunhurst’s Head of Outdoor Work Ryan Walsh was keen to make the week as engaging as it has been in previous years and ran a series of challenges, competitions and quizzes designed to get everyone involved. Pupils could birdwatch as a solitary activity or join live birdwatching sessions on Microsoft Teams. In assembly Ryan also shared clips from Dunhurst’s bird box cameras, which showed blue tits laying, hatching and fledging.

As in previous years, Ryan encouraged pupils and their families to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Participants observe birds in their garden over a period of days and report their findings back to the RSPB, who use the data to monitor trends and changes with birds over time. Pupils who birdwatched in their garden this year reported sightings of blackbirds, blue tits, coal tits, dunnocks, great spotted woodpeckers, great tits, house sparrows, long tailed tits, robins and woodpigeons.

Ryan said: “Although we couldn’t take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch together at school, I received so many lovely stories, photos and messages from Dunhurstians who built bird boxes, made bird feeders, went birdwatching and took photos of birds. It was very heartening to see our community embracing nature and getting outdoors during these challenging times.”