Your chance to watch the birds

CHARITY chiefs are urging children and teachers in Hartlepool and east Durham to join a wildlife survey which ranks as the biggest of its kind in the country.

The RSPB is calling on people to join the Big Schools' Birdwatch, which has helped to track bird populations in schools for the last decade.

It runs from Monday, January 24, to Friday, February 4, and encourages children and teachers to learn about the birds that share their school environment. The survey also helps the RSPB build a picture of birds visiting school grounds and the population changes they are experiencing.

Susan McGinty, the RSPB's education officer for northern England, said: "As well as contributing to our understanding of the changes in bird numbers, Big Schools' Birdwatch does a fantastic job of inspiring children about nature."

Last year's event saw 75,000 schoolchildren and teachers from nearly 2,000 schools take part.

Susan added: "All you need to do to take part is watch and count the birds in your school grounds for one hour, then send one set of results back to the RSPB either via email or your interactive whiteboard."

For further information and a free teachers' pack, visit the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch or ring 0300 4568340.