Children with learning difficulties from Clarendon School were in a chirpy mood this week when they joined in with the RSPB’s Big School Birdwatch at The Holly Lodge Centre last week.

Nestling in the wilds of Richmond Park, the Centre proved the perfect habitat to learn all about birds, with multi-sensory activities ideal for visitors with learning difficulties. The day began with a welcoming song and a story, then the children were helped to mix up a sticky concoction of bird food, which was left to set while they explored an award-winning Nature Trail. All along the way, there were dipping boxes filled with lifelike eggs, feathers to feel and toy singing birds to stroke and squeeze. Volunteers from the local area had even made a whole flock of knitted birds for the children to find. After visiting the duck pond and inspecting a real bird’s nest, the children were encouraged to build their own out of twigs and leaves. Then they moved on to the feeding station, where they were shown how to use binoculars to watch live birds pecking away at the feeders and to record all the different species they saw, to send to the RSPB. When it was finally time to go home, each child was given their own bird book, a bag of seed and the bird cakes they had made earlier - to hang up in their school garden.