Wilde about birds!
This past weekend, Bebington High Secondary School’s coordinator of land-based science, Peter Fearon, appeared on CBBC’s popular wildlife show, WILD, with a young boy who is passionate about bird ringing.
Two years ago, Peter was contacted by Findlay Wilde, who asked if he could come along to a bird ringing session to learn more. Within the first few minutes of the session, Findlay was already asking to come again next week, and before they knew it, their sessions became a weekly fixture and Peter began training Findlay and teaching him how to catch and ring birds.
Peter has been ringing birds since he was a child and explains what bird ringing is for those that are unaware, saying: “Bird ringing is a way of monitoring wild bird populations through their capture and tagging with a small, lightweight metallic ring featuring its own unique number.
“I have been ringing birds since I was a child, benefiting from a father who was as enthusiastic about wildlife and the natural world as I have grown to be. The early starts on a Saturday morning were as big a part of my education as any lesson inside the four walls of a classroom. This might explain how I have the largest ‘classroom’ in the school – a working farm in urban Bebington.
“My ringing career has taken me all over the world, from two years working in Canada at a bird observatory, to contract work in the Middle East and self-managed projects in Portugal. I have managed to meet some amazing people, see some amazing birds and make a positive difference to bird populations and about five years ago I took on the role of training other enthusiasts to do what I do.”
Two years since their first session, Findlay – and now his father Nigel – are making excellent progress, dedicating most of their time to their passion, which can be demanding, as ringing sessions can start from as early as 3 am on a Saturday and Sunday, which Peter tells us make Monday Morning ‘look like a lie in’.
Findlay, who has a very popular twitter account @wildeaboutbirds, was contacted by the BBC earlier this year to record some footage for WILD, which airs every Saturday morning on CBBC. In the footage, Findlay talks about his passion for bird ringing, his appreciation for wildlife and Peter’s shared belief that more children should get the opportunity to experience and appreciate wildlife.
Peter has loved teaching Findlay and thinks he has a very promising future ahead of him, saying: “I am happy that I’ve played a part in furthering what promises to be a long and successful career in conservation. I think some of the best teaching and the most significant learning occurs outside of the classroom.”
You can follow Findlay on twitter at @wildeaboutbirds, read his blog at www.wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.com and follow Peter Fearon, Coordinator of Land-based Science at Bebington High School, @BebHighFarm