Published date 11 January 2024

Watch the birdies to save nature, Mayor urges Bristol school kids

Dan norris with school kids looking up for birds

After the long slog of winter, Bristol school kids are being encouraged by Mayor Dan Norris to get outside with a mission in mind: to count and record the number of different birds visiting their playgrounds. It’s all part of the country’s biggest school bird-watching event called the Big Schools' Birdwatch led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, running until Monday, 19 February - helping the charity find out which bird species are thriving and crucially, those that are declining too.

It’s important research, as studies show around half of the birds in the country are at risk of extinction or threatened, warns the West’s directly elected Mayor.

One school getting involved is City Academy in Redfield. Binoculars fixed to eyes were the order of the day as they joined Mayor Norris in taking part in the count.

But the children have been taking an active interest in the wildlife at their school for a while, thanks to funding from the West of England Mayoral Authority, which Mr. Norris leads. They have created a thriving wildlife and well-being space in their school grounds, doing things like planting a wildflower meadow and sensory garden, making bird feeders and bird boxes, and learned more about biodiversity.

Mayor Norris says he wants more Bristol children to be engaged with nature from an early age and take their enthusiasm through to adulthood. He said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the West’s youngsters to chart the West of England’s wildlife.

"It’s all about raising awareness with children in terms of the animals they have in their own area. And it works - last year, I met many youngsters coming to me telling me what sort of things they spotted in their school grounds, their gardens or when they’ve generally been out and about.

“It really does show that seeing it first hand is the single best way to get our young people excited about nature. By getting out to watch our feathered friends in action, they can learn so much, not least thinking about how we can protect our precious planet, and the animals we share it with.

“I urge all Bristol students to get outside and turn their eyes to the skies.”

For more information on how to register for Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2024, a free activity, visit

Dan and school child looking up with binoculars
Dan and school children outside holding paper

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