CHILDREN in Wiltshire are taking part in a survey of the county's wild birds with a project run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch is a nationwide survey that runs during the first half of the spring term ending on February 22.

School children across Wiltshire are being encouraged to fill up bird feeders, turn classrooms into bird hides and counting the birds in their school grounds for survey.

Anton Boari of the RSPB said: “When given the opportunity to interact and learn more about nature children have so much fun and get really excited about the wildlife they see. This survey is a fantastic opportunity for schools to encourage children to connect with nature by taking a much closer look at the different birds that visit their school grounds.

“Taking part in our Big Schools’ Birdwatch also makes a valuable contribution in helping us monitor the health of our garden birds and discover which species really need our help.

“This survey is also part of our Wild Challenge, where school classes can complete various activities which lead to awards, all aimed at discovering and taking action to help nature. To find out more about RSPB Wild Challenge visit:”

Last year, 60,000 children and teachers took part counting more than 100,000 birds.

For the tenth successive year the blackbird was the most common playground visitor with 88 per cent of schools spotting one during their watch. Robins, house sparrows and woodpigeons all featured prominently in the results, and with over 70 difference species recorded, there is sure to be a few surprises in schools around the country.