Pupils enjoy a flight of fancy at city university

Extraordinary Birds science lesson hosted by experts at the University of Sheffield  3rd year Biology student Alice Goodyear show some of the pupils a Pelican skeleton 'See Story Jeni Harvey Picture by Chris Lawton'13 Dec 2011
Extraordinary Birds science lesson hosted by experts at the University of Sheffield 3rd year Biology student Alice Goodyear show some of the pupils a Pelican skeleton 'See Story Jeni Harvey Picture by Chris Lawton'13 Dec 2011
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PUPILS were all of a flutter after enjoying a giant Sheffield University science lesson devoted to the amazing world of birds.

The event for almost 900 aspiring zoologists from 20 city schools took in almost every kind of feathered friend from enormous ostriches to newborn chicks.

The exciting interactive event was modelled on the famous Royal Society Christmas Lectures, seen on TV every year.

The youngsters were taught everything they need to know about birds by Professor Tim Birkhead, from the university’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences.

Packed with intriguing specimens, gripping demonstrations and spectacular video footage, the lecture was designed to stimulate the children’s sense of wonder.

Professor Birkhead, who is a fellow of the Royal Society and has studied birds for over 40 years, said: “Birds really are amazing! And members of our department are world-renowned ornithologists.

“By showing just how incredible birds are our aim is to inspire young people, to excite them about biology as a subject and make clear that it is possible to have a career studying birds.”

Pupils discovered what life is like to be an emperor penguin, how to attract birds into their gardens at home and how to examine birds’ nests, skeletons and eggs.

The children also got the chance to meet a brood of fluffy three-day-old chicks, discovered that peregrine falcons can fly at 200mph and watched an impressive eagle in flight.

Ruby Cunliffe, aged nine, from Charnock Hall Primary School, said: “Birds are incredible creatures and I cannot wait to learn even more about them at school. I was very surprised to see how big the eagle was – its wings were massive when they were stretched out fully.”