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St Swithuns CE Primary School

Year 5 and 6 writing club

A number of our year 5s and 6s have recently enjoyed a three-week nature writing challenge, led by local writer and naturalist Paul Gamble, as an after school club. Their ‘task’ was to capture the essence of a single bird species in around 50 words. The writing stimulus was a single feather of that bird. Here are some of their wonderfully imaginative creations.


Tawny Owl by Rajan       

Sub-zero. Dead cold.

Camouflaged with smudged brown stripes.

Soft feathers and ready to strike. Careful about its surroundings.

Nocturnal eyes… made for hunting. 

Wings gliding. Folded feathers flying.

Does the owl pounce?

It’s gone in the blink of an eye.    


Magpie by Belle

Black and white. Metallical. Long-tailed bird.

Eating insects, berries and nuts. YUM! Building nests and laying eggs.

An amazingly beautiful bird.

Harsh cacklers: flying high in the sky through the day and sleeping in their nest at night.

Found all over the world, can you spot one?                                     


Jay by Barney 

In the woods there’s a feather floating in the sky.

White and black with a hint of blue.

There’s my clue!

I spy the jay bird’s eyes.                                                         

The jay floats in the sky, afloat in heaven’s eye, unlike the air so soft and still.

Afloat in the sky is the jay bird’s eye.                                                


Red-legged Partridge by Isabel

What is it? In a field. A bird! Shhh… don’t scare it away, squirrel!

In the grass I see a bright maroon beak and orangey stripes.

Let’s look closer...

It flies away. And drops the most unique feather. WOW! Amazing! So fluffy!

I will definitely keep this mini treasure.                                                         



Kestrel by Tierney

I stand alone in the summer meadow. The breeze whips the grass around me.

I wait.

There’s something...

Gliding over the brambles.

Another joins, but they keep their distance.

Swooping. Swiping. Grabbing. Gliding. It’s a wonder to watch.    

I smile, as the female flies off towards the glowing horizon.                             



Mallard by Summer

I see a cute baby mallard by the riverbank. It splashes in the river and fluffs up its little feathers, quacking a happy, funny, adorable hyper-quack.

It was so appealing, the baby mallard. It was very cute.

I knew it was a mallard because of its brown head.                                 


Snipe by Cassie

I woke up. I heard a noise. It felt familiar.

As I looked out, I saw him. Somehow, I knew his call.

It was the call that woke me at dawn. It woke me for food, specifically worms.

I thought he had gone.

I really believed it.

But he hadn’t.                                                               


Green Woodpecker by Leola

Pale-green and yellow. Black and white bars.

Hard to bend, but soft and delicate to touch.

Like a zebra crossed with a toucan’s beak. Like a slimeball crossed with ribs.

Twenty pecks per second. Camouflage better than you think.

Hmm, a yaffle. Ah yes! The green woodpecker: a wonderful bird.                  


Great-spotted Woodpecker by Isobel

Peck, peck, peck!  That’s what a great-spotted woodpecker does, right?

Pecks in the side of tree trunks?

Its feather is soft but kind of rough. In parts of the black feather are white specks.

It’s very light when I pick it up.

I often hear it pecking from my window.                                                       


Pheasant by Sophie

A shriek. Auburn in the undergrowth. Gone in a blink.

But a feather remains. A single trace.

The chest of the bird, this feather’s home. Wiry but soft. Pure black, soot grey, rust orange. Insects, grains, seeds and berries eaten gratefully. About three years to live.

The pheasant calls again.                       



Ptarmigan by Audrey

A bird white as snow, perched on a rock the colour of thunder clouds. Its small but hardy feathers cling on.

Soon, come April, these rough, vanilla-coloured feathers will fall. Because this beautiful bird changes feathers every autumn and spring.

Through the howling blizzard the ptarmigan launches itself airborne. 



Curlew by Aishah

Cold in the winter. Beak like a snake fang. Travel to the grasslands, to make little offsprings.

Beautiful coffee-coloured speckles – cappuccino, latte, iced coffee.

50-60 cms long, but how wide?

You could eat pikachu!

Back then, why did they eat you?

Your name is ‘curlew’, but can you CURL YOU?                                                    


Jackdaw by Clara

A blanket of coal-like colour covers its body. Silver spreads across its head.

WOOSH!! The bird disappears.

All that’s left is a feather. It’s smoothness is softer than cotton.

OWW!! The other side is so rough.

The feather is as long as a pen. Its glossy sheen reflects beautifully.             


Red Kite by Daniel

I’m the V-tailed Bird – or red kite. You sometimes see my shadow before you see me.

I’m commonly seen around Kennington and I nest in the woods. I’m easily recognisable for my letter-tail and my orangey colouring.

I’m a bird of prey, so I love eating mice and small birds.