During this lockdown the Ornithological Society have worked hard to establish ‘Eton GardenWatch’, a citizen science project where members of the Eton community can record, share, and celebrate the bird species they see in their gardens.

A group of pupils are meeting regularly as part of the co-curricular program to discuss their findings. Cosmo le Breton remarked that ‘it is fascinating to be able to share observations of different species, as everyone lives in different parts of the UK.’

The project is designed to enable members of the community to engage with the nature around them, as well as learning about avian anatomy and developing species identification skills, including rare sightings. It also has the added benefit of providing a spatial map of the species observed around the UK.

The ‘Eton GardenWatch’ project dovetails with the Ornithological Society’s long-term project of researching the change in biodiversity and species composition across the seasons, to observe trends in migratory birds.

Interaction with birds in one’s garden is a first step towards engaging with wildlife and the environment. It leaves people better able to understand why ecology matters, in terms of our enjoyment of it and our fundamental interconnectedness with it. I think that leaves people more open to the crucial ideas behind our environmental crisis. But let’s not forget the personal enjoyment birds can provide for the rest of one’s life. There is no doubt that regular immersion in the natural world makes us happier and healthier.

Mark Fielker, Head of Outdoor Education

Thank you to Robin Denison Pender for his beautiful photograph of a male bearded tit.

More information, forms and identification guides can be found on this Firefly page: