Connecting Birds, Kids and Technology…….

We’re doing lots of work at Michael Drayton Junior to learn about the wildlife that is in our school grounds. We are lucky enough to have a super site and, as we continue to develop with wildlife in mind, the habitats are reaping rewards!

For me, the key to engaging kids is to help them connect with the wildlife that they can encounter almost every day; the wildlife that is on their doorstep. The more time they spend in their local environment, watching, learning and being involved, the more engaged they become. If they don’t have this opportunity, then it is easy for them to become detached from the natural world, at which point why would they care about it?

I hope to get them involved and excited about wildlife, in a variety of projects, and one of those is through using the technology they love. You may have seen my previous blog post about the feeding platform I made with some of the pupils. They have been feeding the birds on here and setting up a Bushnell trail cam, with a close up lens and then collecting the footage each week. As part of Big School Birdwatch, we have been using this footage to record the species visiting and it is also helping them learn to identify different species of birds. The fact that they built the platform, collected leftovers from school dinner, fed the birds with these leftovers, along with bird seed, set up the camera and collected the footage has given them ownership and they WANT to find out more and learn more. I wish I had videoed their reaction this week when we uploaded the buzzard footage… the excitement was so heartwarming… it just makes my heart swell. We are making memories at school and forging passions and interests that could last a lifetime…. it is a very powerful position to be in.

The following clips were their favourites… those that showed a good selection of visitors…

We have stunning jay pair now visiting quite regularly….

The highlight for all of us was this week’s buzzard footage. What a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about birds of prey, look at their adaptations and learn to love the beauty of the natural world. The are now always on the look out for them soaring over our school field  and are always coming to tell me where they have seen them.

I wrote about RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch a few weeks ago. There is also the Big School Birdwatch, that runs up until 22nd February, asking schools to carry out bird watches and submit results as well. This year, I took children from every year group out and we will share our results in an assembly on Monday.

Armed with binoculars and checklists, we worked our way around the grounds, spending time at our bird hide and  watching our feeding stations. A big thank you to CJ Wildlife who have supported our school, providing us with a great poster for our hide and a feeding station.

We spent the hour watching, listening and recording the species we saw and the kids were really interested and engaged. Many have never used binoculars before and loved using them to get closer to the wildlife we spotted (many also liked using the binoculars back to front so everything looked far away)!

The species we recorded over these watches included:

  • Wood pigeon
  • Magpie
  • Black headed gull
  • House sparrow
  • Long tailed tit
  • Siskin
  • Goldfinch
  • Great tit
  • Blue tit
  • Dunnock
  • Blackbird
  • Buzzard
  • Nuthatch
  • Starling
  • Jackdaw
  • Carrion crow

We will be filming a piece with BBC Midlands Today on Tuesday showcasing the wonderful work that these children have done … we are VERY excited!! Watch this space… the piece should go out later next week…..