British birds, with their diverse species and charming behaviors, make for an enchanting and fun subject to explore, especially when run in conjunction with the annual RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, always held during the last weekend in January. In this blog post, we will delve into a delightful lesson plan designed to help you and your children learn about British birds and participate in the Big Garden Bird Watch. Whether you’re incorporating this mini-unit study into your Home Education Schedule or enjoying it as a family activity, the lesson can be tailored to fit the resources you have at hand and cater to your teaching approach and your children’s unique learning styles. Before we jump into the lesson plan though, let’s understand why learning about British birds is fascinating, what the Big Garden Bird Watch entails, and the importance of birdwatching.
WHY LEARN ABOUT BRITISH BIRDS?
The Birds of Britain offer a fascinating glimpse into the country’s natural diversity. Learning about British birds not only fosters an appreciation for nature but also provides valuable insights into ecosystems, migratory patterns, and the importance of bird conservation. It’s a topic that encourages children to observe, inquire, and connect with the natural world around them.
THE BIG GARDEN BIRD WATCH:
The Big Garden Bird Watch, an annual event by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), invites people across the UK to observe and record the birds in their gardens or local green spaces. This important and family friendly initiative helps monitor bird populations, contributing to conservation efforts and providing a fun and educational experience for participants.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BIRDWATCHING:
Birdwatching is more than just a hobby; it’s a mindful activity that nurtures patience, curiosity, and environmental awareness. Through birdwatching, individuals, especially children, develop a sense of responsibility toward nature and a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of living organisms.
BRITISH BIRDS AND BIG GARDEN BIRD WATCH LESSON PLAN
Now that we’ve discussed why you may want to learn about British birds and the significance of the Big Garden Bird Watch, let’s move on to our British Birds and Big Garden Bird Watch Lesson Plan. This plan aims to provide a comprehensive overview of common British birds, birdwatching techniques, and active participation in the Big Garden Bird Watch. Tailored for children aged 5 to 13, the lesson is designed to be interactive, educational, and adaptable to various learning styles.
- Identify and recognise common British birds.
- Understand the role of birdwatching in conservation.
- Learn birdwatching techniques and observation skills.
- Participate in the Big Garden Bird Watch.
- Create a bird-themed craft or activity.
- Appreciate the importance of biodiversity.
Adapt the suggested supplies based on what you have available at home. This post contains affiliate links, which means Barefoot Bliss and Books make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See the full disclosure here.
Books on British Birds:
Choose books that feature common British birds and their characteristics. Consider authority titles like “Collins Complete Guide to British Birds” for older children or “RSPB My First Book of Garden Birds” for younger readers.
Gather materials such as binoculars, bird identification guides, and notebooks for recording observations. If you or your children want to take up this hobby you can use this Checklist and gather some very basic equipment:
- ☐ Binoculars:
- ☐ Local Field Guide:
- ☐ Notebook and Pen:
- ☐ Birding App:
- ☐ Camera or Smartphone:
- ☐ Bird Feeder or Seed:
- ☐ Field Chair or Blanket:
- ☐ First Aid Kit:
By checking off these essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for a rewarding birdwatching experience.
Other Basic Supplies:
- Drawing or crafting materials
- Blank paper or a nature journal
- Paints or Dot Pens
- Fine Nibbed Pens
- Bird feeders (optional)
SETTING UP THE LESSON:
Before starting the lesson, set up a display of bird identification guides, images of common British birds, and, if possible, bird feeders to attract birds to your observation area. We have this poster of British Birds on display by our back kitchen door at all times to encourage the children to identify any birds they see in the garden.
EXPLORE BRITISH BIRDS:
Begin the learning day with an introduction to common British birds. Show images or illustrations of birds such as the Robin, Blue Tit, and Blackbird from your chosen field guide. Discuss their features, habitats, and typical behaviors. Emphasise the diversity of birds in Britain.
UNDERSTAND BIRDWATCHING TECHNIQUES:
Introduce birdwatching as a skill and discuss techniques such as observing quietly, using binoculars, and identifying birds by their markings, colors, and calls. Encourage children to practice patience and attentiveness during birdwatching.
BIG GARDEN BIRD WATCH PREPARATION:
Explain the concept of the Big Garden Bird Watch and its significance in monitoring bird populations. Discuss the importance of recording observations accurately and how citizen science contributes to conservation efforts.
BIRD-THEMED CRAFT OR ACTIVITY:
Engage in a creative session by making bird-themed crafts or activities. This could involve creating bird feeders, drawing or coloring pictures of British birds, crafting simple bird nests or making a bird house.
We made a big poster of our local birds using finger prints and find nibbed pens, it was a collabortive activity and all the children were able to contribute which was fun.
PARTICIPATE IN THE BIG GARDEN BIRD WATCH:
Choose a suitable time to participate in the Big Garden Bird Watch. Set up a designated observation area, distribute binoculars and identification guides, and record the birds observed during the allotted time frame. Emphasise the importance of quiet observation to avoid disturbing the birds. If you know in advance you will be taking part then using bird feeders to attract more birds in the weeks beforehand is not only helpful for the count but also a good habit to get into of feeding our local birds in the winter months.
DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION:
Conclude the lesson with a discussion about the birds observed during the Big Garden Bird Watch. Ask children to share their observations, note any patterns or surprises, and reflect on the role of citizen science in bird conservation.
WRAP-UP AND DISCUSSION:
Wrap up the lesson by discussing the importance of biodiversity and the role each person can play in preserving the environment. Encourage children to continue birdwatching as a mindful and enjoyable activity.
EXTENSIONS FOR OLDER KIDS:
For older children, extend the lesson by exploring more advanced birdwatching techniques, delving into bird migration patterns, exploring the most amazing displays of aerial acrobatics during a murmuration of starlings or researching specific bird species in greater detail.
WHAT’S NEXT WITH LEARNING ABOUT BRITISH BIRDS?
If this introduction to British birds and the Big Garden Bird Watch proves enjoyable, consider expanding the unit study to explore specific bird families, delve into bird anatomy, or learn about ongoing bird conservation projects. Engage in additional birdwatching sessions to deepen understanding and appreciation for the diverse birdlife in Britain.
Please share your thoughts in the comments and let me know what additional activities you would include in a day of learning about British birds and participating in the Big Garden Bird Watch.