Author: Clare Whitelegg, edited by Emily McParland

“What’s your favourite bird?” This is a question Clare Whitelegg, our Schools Outreach Officer, is regularly asked by school pupils. It’s a tough question, but as part of the ‘Big Schools' Birdwatch’ sessions we've been running in local schools this term, many children are discovering their favourite bird for the first time. 

Throughout our sessions it's incredible to see just how enthralled children find the experience of observing the creatures that, all too often, we take for granted as we grow older. Whether it's been a little robin sitting at eye level in a hedge or spotting a buzzard riding high on a thermal over the city, youngsters are getting to experience local nature in ways they may not previously have appreciated it.

Photo credit: Eleanor Bentall

One of the best things about introducing youngsters to their favourite bird through the Big Schools' Birdwatch is seeing their new found enthusiasm for doing something positive for nature. Delighted by the idea of helping their new found favourites, children are full of the pure joy inherent in helping something that one loves.

Not to worry if you haven't found your top bird yet, it's not too late! School may be out soon but get prepared for the Bird Garden Birdwatch this January, where you may just find your favourite bird right in your garden!

Photo credit: Greenfinch by Ben Hall

Big Schools' Birdwatch

3 January - 17 February 2017 

We are encouraging schools to take part in the UK’s biggest wildlife survey by getting your class closer to nature. It takes just an hour and works for all ages and abilities. Last year more than 90,000 children and their teachers took part across every corner of the UK. Join in with Big Schools' Birdwatch 2017 and help us make it the biggest ever!

For more information visit

Big Garden Birdwatch

Saturday 28, Sunday 29 and Monday 30 January

Since it began 37 years ago the Big Garden Birdwatch has provided a snapshot of how the birds and other wildlife using our gardens are doing. In 2017 the world’s largest garden wildlife survey will, for the first time, take place over three days. Join in by watching the birds in your garden for one hour over the weekend and tell us what you've seen.

For your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, text BIRD to 70030 or visit