Where have all our songbirds gone?


With the pressure on farmers to make a profit and produce food in great quantities, the countryside has become an increasingly efficient and intensive landscape. Whilst the drive to produce so much across our rural landscape means we have plenty of food to buy and eat, there are many organisms that are losing out. Many of our insects such as bees and butterflies are disappearing and farmland birds, which rely on insects during the summer and seeds during the winter, have increasingly less food to eat. Students have the opportunity to use the Museum of English Rural Life to explore how technology has made farming more efficient and the characters who have been at the forefront of these changes.

Themes and topics:

  • Environmental change and effects on other living things
  • Interactions and interdependencies
  • Genetic modification/biotechnology
  • Ecosystems
  • Challenges for Britain and Europe
  • Use of natural resources
  • Effective functioning of natural systems.

Suggested age range:

Upper primary, lower and upper secondary

Links with other activities:

This activity could also be used in conjunction with the ‘What is the future of the countryside?’ resource.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this activity students will:

  • understand that intensive agriculture has costs for the environment such as the loss of farmland birds, insects and flowering plants, often classed as pests
  • develop skills in persuasive writing. By using evidence and scientific facts, students will be better able to write a campaign letter that is calling for wildlife or certain country ways to be conserved or preserved.