Birdwatching Holidays

Birdwatching and ornithology involve sitting still in some beautiful outdoor places and watching a huge variety of birds feeding, flying and nesting.

Skills – Strength: 3, Balance: 1, Flexibility: 1, Agility: 4, Coordination: 3
Time needed: 30mins + depending on where you watch and what you see, Cost to try: £free + cost of binoculars.

Having a wild time on your doorstep

Love being outside? Always out playing football, skateboarding or cycling? Or perhaps you like to enjoy it in a more tranquil way with a book in your garden? Whatever you are doing take a look upwards and you’ll realise you are NEVER alone. The UK has some of the most amazing wildlife in the world and you don’t have to be any kind of expert to appreciate and enjoy it. The RSPB will teach you about what you are seeing and what you can do to look after it for generations to come and most importantly, how to have fun with it!

Birds and wildlife provide a 24/7 soap opera wherever you are, be it in the countryside, park, city centre or even in the comfort of your living room looking out the window! Who can’t fail to crack a smile at blue tits vying for space on a feeder or a rabbit leaving the floor as it bounds through a field?

Over 160,000 young people are now ‘Wildlife Explorers’ – young members of the RSPB. This is the biggest wildlife club for young people in the world and covers all aspects – from teaching you what creatures you are seeing to simple activities you can do in your garden, wider afield, on your own or with family and friends…

Girl Birdwatching
Courtesy of the RSPB

RSPB PHOENIX

RSPB Phoenix is for teenage members of the RSPB. By joining, you will be able to share information and advice with other like-minded teenagers. As an RSPB Phoenix member you will receive BirdLife magazine every two months, and also get Wingbeat – the only environmental magazine written by teenagers for teenagers – four times a year. As well as articles about wildlife, the environment and conservation, Wingbeat runs many special offers and competitions.

Most importantly, you will be adding your name to the list of teenage voices shouting loudly for nature!

Climate Action Awards

You can’t have failed to hear about the current issue of climate change. Barely a day passes without coverage on the news and in the papers and we really can all do our bit to make a difference. The earth’s climate is changing much quicker than it ever used to and scientists agree that people are the cause of this. It may seem like one of those huge global issues where one person is insignificant but you and your friends could focus on some simple changes to your lifestyle and know that you are contributing to vital progress. That’s what the RSPB’s Climate Action Awards are all about.

If you send off for your free copy of the Climate Action Award Booklet you can get started straight away on all sorts of fun ideas to help to save the planet. You need to do six out of 11 activities and tell the RSPB which ones you did by filling in one of the entry forms and sending it in.

You’ll get some cool stickers and a certificate but the best thing is you’ll find yourself doing really worthwhile things for the planet without even realising it over time. Hopefully you’re brother, sister, mum or dad might find themselves following suit and suddenly you’re making a huge contribution!

It’s true – just one little action makes a world of difference.

Big Garden Birdwatch

Each January, almost half a million people press their faces up against their windows and stare into their gardens, taking part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. This is an activity that is now firmly planted in diaries up and down the country for two reasons; it’s a great way to learn about what you are sharing your garden with and it helps the RSPB gather vital information about which birds are thriving and which might need help.

It doesn’t matter if you have a huge garden or a small balcony area – simply watch your wildlife for one hour and tell the RSPB what you see. You will be surprised at how many of the common garden birds you recognise and for those you are unsure of there are plenty of pointers on the RSPB website. Sadly, many of the birds we think of as common are actually declining in massive number – the house sparrow for example, has dropped by over 60% in recent years.

This is an activity you can do from the comfort of your armchair with a bacon sandwich if you like!

Youth Group Birdwatching
Courtesy of the RSPB

Aren’t Birds Brilliant?!

Did you know that while you’re out trying to get your hands on a Wii or checking out the spring collection in Topshop you could have some of the most amazing creatures on the planet circling above your head? The RSPB will show you some of these sights through their Aren’t Birds Brilliant! scheme and introduce you to a range of spectacles on your doorstep.

The fascinating starling roost over Brighton pier where thousands of birds swoop and circle in the air making wonderful shapes before they all land together, puffin cruises on the coast of Scotland with unrivalled views of these funny little birds and red kites feeding in the heart of wales showing their power and majestic flying ability are just some of the wonders you can see through this scheme.

And excitingly for 2008, there are also nine peregrine in cities Abbs! this year. This proves that the fastest creature on the planet is increasingly opting for city living and with speeds of over 100 mph and an unrivalled hunting ability they are guaranteed to take your breath away. They have made their home in iconic city locations such as the Tate Modern in London’s Southbank, The BT Tower in Birmingham, Wrexham police station and even Lincoln cathedral. This bring a whole new meaning to the term ‘bird of prey’!

Wherever you live you can guarantee there will be a site near you, and you’ll see where we got our ‘Aren’t birds brilliant! title from!

Whether you put some food and water out for your garden birds, pick up a pair of binoculars and find out what you can see or get really actively involved in some of the activities above you are doing you bit to safeguard our wildlife and its habitat.

Come on, go wild! Don’t just watch from your window. Go on a bird watching holiday!

Details about the RSPB, how to join and all of these activities and events can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/youth

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