Youngsters at Jigsaw Preschool in Crewkerne have been learning about the different types of birds that visit their gardens. The children have also been making bird feeders and enjoyed going out into the field near their preschool, where they spotted crows, seagulls, pigeons, sparrows, a thrush, blackbird and blue tit. Coinciding with the RSPB annual Big Garden Birdwatch, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month, the youngsters talked about the birds they’d seen in the sky, trees and field. Staff members helped them to identify the birds on the Jigsaw Preschool recognition board and have invited parents to support the bird watching project by continuing to help their children identify the different birds seen in their gardens and while out walking in the countryside.

The RSPB is the country’s largest conservation charity which works closely with educators in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch to help track the ups and downs of birds across the country. Survey results are shared so that children can see how class research is contributing to the recording and protection of birds. The RSPB began as the Society for the Protection of Birds (SPB) in 1889. It was founded 130 years ago by Emily Williamson of Manchester, to “counter the barbaric trade in plumes for women’s hats.” The Victorian fashion trend was responsible for the deaths of many thousands of egrets, birds of paradise and other species of birds, whose plumes had become fashionable among the affluent ladies of society.

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