SCHOOL children across Merseyside and Cheshire will kick off this year's RSPB Birdwatch.

Taking place from January 2 to February 23, the RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch is the world's biggest schools' wildlife survey.

At the top of the checklist for 2018 are blackbirds, house sparrows and robins.

The survey hopes to get children to put down their books and get outside to experience and learn about the nature that lives in their local area.

Eagle-eyed children will spend an hour watching and counting the birds that visit their playgrounds and outdoor areas before sending the results to the RSPB. 

Last year, more than 1,000 children and teachers in Cheshire took part.

Wirral Globe:

House sparrow, perched on edge of garden shed roof. (Picture: Ray Kennedy) 

The house sparrow was the most common playground visitor in the county and more than half of schools spotted one during their watch.

Blackbirds, wood pigeons and starlings all featured prominently in the results and more than 70 different species recorded, there is sure to be a few surprises in schools around the county.

RSPB education, families and youth manager in Northern England Emma Reed said: “Taking part in Big Schools Birdwatch uses just one lesson or lunchtime so it’s really fun and simple to set up, and it works for all ages.

"We hope that taking part will inspire school children in Cheshire about the wildlife they share their space with.

“Sadly, children today are spending less time outside in nature, which means they are missing out on the positive impact it has on their physical health, emotional wellbeing and their education.

"The Birdwatch is the perfect chance for them to experience nature first hand, make exciting discoveries, and the results help provide our scientists with valuable information, so the children are helping to make a real difference for wildlife.”

For the first time, the RSPB has partnered with Cbeebies favourites Twirlywoos to provide exciting activities and resources tailored to young people, to help get mini birdwatches off to a flying start.

The RSPB say that teachers can pick any day during the first half of the spring term to take part, and can run it as a one off or cross-curricular study, project work or a way for the children to improve their outdoor space.

To take part in the free Big Schools Birdwatch visit