Youngsters from Clawton Primary School in Holsworthy, Devon, took a walk on the wild side, with a visit from Falconry for Schools.
Falconry for Schools instructor Sharon Bindon brought six of her birds into the classroom for a two-day project, teaching the year five and six pupils all about our native raptors and how falconers look after and use these majestic birds.
Sharon runs Ancient Art Falconry in North Devon and brought along her goshawk Spike, Zeus the red kite, Shadow the buzzard, barn owl Rocky, her baby little owl Click and Star, who is an American kestrel, into school.
A highlight for the children was barn owl Rocky, who lived up to her name by dancing along to music by Irish band The Script.
Sharon explained: “When Rocky was a baby I used to work at Plymouth dockyard and as she had to be fed really regularly I used to take her into work with me. There was always music playing and she loved to bob along to it. It had the children in stitches at Clawton!”
Thirty children across both year groups took part in the project – which included dissecting pellets to see what the birds eat – on 29 and 30 June. Teaching assistant Jacky Barriball said: “The children were captivated by Sharon and her birds and very keen to share what they learned with the rest of the school.
“On Friday morning they gave a presentation on what they had learned the day before and it was interesting to see just how much information they had absorbed and retained.
“One Year 5 pupil, Freya, has since told me how she has been spotting several buzzards on the telephone lines when travelling in the car. It’s really fired their imaginations.”
Falconry for Schools is a project run by The Countryside Alliance Foundation that takes birds of prey into primary and secondary schools, to help educate young people about the countryside and our wildlife.