The Big Garden Bird Watch is a simple and delightful wildlife scheme for primary schools. Run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' Young Ornithologists' Club, it has been going for almost 20 years, and offers no big prizes, T-shirts or cash inducements. Instead, it gives out free Birds in the Primary Curriculum resource materials, as well as advice on bird feeding.
Children can buy an RSPB-approved garden bird feeder (pound;4 each) and bird food from participating branches of Tesco.
One success story comes from Inverteign School at Teignmouth, Devon, where the cirl bunting is still found. The RSPB believes no more than 700 of the birds survive, blaming changes in farming practice for destroying the bird's winter foodstuffs.
Last winter the school fed cirl buntings in its grounds, on feed donated by a local supplier, and pupils were able not only to monitor the birds but also to preserve lives.
Further information from RSPB Education, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL. Tel: 01767 680551