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Counting Bird’s Nests

When I was very young, my mother was working full time and I was often cared for by our elderly neighbours. They became close friends of the family and I considered the couple to be my aunt and uncle, despite the fact that they weren’t relatives. They had no children of their own and yet proved to be exceptional carers who always managed to make life fun and interesting for me.

Car Journeys and Nature

I recall that they were particularly imaginative when it came to keeping me occupied in the car. The endless games that they came up with ensured that I was one child who never plaintively asked "are we there yet?".

I Spy with a Difference

One of the games that we always played was counting bird’s nests. This was a variant of I Spy which involved spotting the nests in trees visible from the road. I would always giggle when I saw so many that I couldn’t count them before we had passed them by. In those days, I didn’t give this game much thought but as time passed I discovered that other kids had never played it.

Inspired Idea

I don’t know if counting bird nests was my aunt and uncle’s idea but it was a brilliant one. Not only did it keep me occupied on long journeys, it also inspired an interest in nature. I started to observe the differences between the nests and their locations and I was inspired to learn more about the different species. I soon became quite the authority on British birds.

Fewer Nests to Count

I haven’t played that game for years but it has always stayed with me. I can’t help looking at bird’s nests when I am a passenger in a car but it has seemed to me in recent years that the number of nests to be spotted has diminished. This feeling is supported by the documented decline in the numbers of many species in Britain.

These days, counting bird’s nests would be more of a challenge but no less fascinating. It is a game that I would recommend for any kids. Inspiring an interest in nature, this game can be educational as well as fun and you can play it anywhere. Not to mention the fact that it is free!


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