School’s new additions are up before the beak!

School’s new additions are up before the beak!

But they’re not facing the head teacher… instead, this quartet of baby blackbirds gave pupils a wildlife lesson to remember.

Summer nesting season is in full swing – and some birds aren’t taking any chances when it comes to providing the best for their babies. If you have children, you’ll know the worry of getting your child into the school of your choice. But this determined blackbird has made sure that she’s in the right catchment area… by laying her eggs right next to the school’s door!

Emma Baker, an early years teacher at Holly Meadows Primary School, Norfolk, discovered the nest on top of the reception class’s wellie rack and took a series of photographs charting the birds’ progress from egg to fledgling.


She said: “Our class has access to the outdoors every day, all day, so we were surprised that the blackbird had chosen such a noisy, busy location to build her nest! We immediately sectioned off the area and spoke to the children about what we had found. She really doesn’t seem bothered by the noise or the children’s presence, we have loved watching her feed her babies, and the dad is often seen feeding too.”

The children of Holly Meadows are taught Forest School, a scheme which encourages learning about the outdoors and in a natural environment. So even the youngest pupils understand the importance of wildlife and get to benefit from this wonderful opportunity.

Chris Calow, a RSPB wildlife advisor, said: “It’s lovely that a class of children have such first-hand wildlife experience right on their doorstep and hopefully it will help foster an interest for life.”


Emma also took the opportunity to teach her aptly named ‘Puffin Class’ about birds and their young: “We showed them a YouTube video about nesting blackbirds which really fuelled their interest and excitement. We were all very excited a few days later when four eggs appeared in the nest and then later on, four little baby birds. We have all watched the nesting journey of this bird with fascination. The children have been so respectful of her, tiptoeing past the nest and playing away from the wellie rack area.”

Although it’s now half term, Emma has been keeping an eye on the blackbird family and reports all are doing well. But this isn’t the first case of weird nesting behaviour. Chris added: “With the nesting season well and truly under way, we’re asking people to keep an eye out for nesting birds. Most like to nest in trees, shrubs, hedges and nest boxes but there have been reports of nest sites in some very unusual places, so please be extra cautious at this time of the year.”

To give the youngsters a head start in life the RSPB is encouraging people to leave out a fresh supply of food and water in their outdoor space. To find out about how you can turn your garden into a haven for wildlife, visit


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Steve Ott

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