Take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2023

Manx BirdLife and conservation partner RSPB are calling on the Island’s schools and youth groups to contribute to the world’s largest wildlife survey, taking place from 6th January to 20th February 2023!

RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2023For information on how to get involved, visit RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch where you can sign up for your free resource pack.

If you are a teacher or youth group leader needing help with your birdwatch, Anna Graham, Manx BirdLife’s Education Manager, will be happy to support you and your young people. It’s a great activity to inspire the next generation to cherish and protect our Island’s wild birds.

For more than two decades, RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch has enabled a million children to discover birdlife in their local area, and in turn contribute to real-life conservation science. At a time when nature is in crisis and young people are worried about the future, this survey gives them an opportunity to take part in positive and meaningful action.

Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2023

This year’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch runs from 6th January to 20th February, so there is still time to get your young people involved. The survey itself only takes an hour and is a great opportunity for outdoor and cross-curricular learning with links to science, maths, and ICT. Birds also make a wonderful theme for literacy and the arts.

Every year, more and more of our schools and youth groups take part. In 2022 alone, children counted over 95,000 birds in UK and Isle of Man schools. This vital data feeds into the even longer running RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch (started in 1979 and this year taking place over the weekend 27th-29th January), the world’s largest wildlife survey. Before going outside to complete the survey, it helps if children can learn a bit about the birds they are likely to see.

Images and key information about these species, as well as survey sheets, can be found in the resource pack. If available, binoculars can help in identifying birds but are not essential. Only birds within the grounds are counted, not those flying overhead. It is important to record the highest number of each species seen at any one time, and not the total number as this could lead to the same bird being counted more than once.

The results are collated and the highest number of each species seen is submitted via the RSPB website.

Big Birdwatch results

Last year, Woodpigeon was the most recorded species, with Blackbird a close second.

It will be interesting to see which species comes out on top this year, and which have dropped down the list and need more help from Manx BirdLife and RSPB.

The Big Schools’ and Big Garden Birdwatches enable scientists to create a snapshot of how birds are doing, and conservationists to aid in their recovery. Even our most familiar birds are in trouble. There are more than five million pairs of House Sparrows in the UK, but scientists are worried because their numbers are falling.

How to take part

Visit RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch for your free resource pack.

If you don’t have time to take part this year, but still want to make a difference for birds in your school, Manx BirdLife offers free advice and practical support in improving your grounds for wildlife.


Anna Graham, Education Manager, Manx BirdLife, 35 New Road, Laxey, Isle of Man IM4 7BG

Email education | at | manxbirdlife | dot | im