Morning break was over at school on Thursday morning, and as I was walking through the corridor back to the classroom I noticed the class of year 4 children being ushered out of their classroom and into the ICT suite quite quickly by their class teacher.
‘There’s a bird in the classroom,’ Richard, the deputy head told me. ‘That will be a good one for your blog!’ he said. So I grabbed an ipad to take photos and made my way to year 4. Obviously I was curious to see what type of bird it was. I cautiously walked into the classroom, expecting to see a sparrow, but there above the door holding onto a pipe, was a swallow.
Apparantly he had flown from the playground and through the school doors with the children where he caused quite a stir in the cloakrooms. Of course, having a bird join you for morning lessons adds quite a lot of excitement to the day. He had then flown into the year 4 classroom.
Myself, the caretaker Bob, and Jill, a fellow member of staff were now on a mission to help the swallow find his way out with as little stress as possible.
Strategy 1: We opened the classroom windows as wide as possible, but the swallow aimed for the very top windows which didn’t open.
Strategy 2: We fetched some black paper and blocked out the light from the top windows to encourage the swallow to fly towards the light where the windows were open. For some reason though, he just did not want to go towards the open windows.
Strategy 3: Bob fetched a big ladder from the storeroom. That way, he could climb up and catch him. Sounds simple enough. But of course, the swallow flew off to the other side of the room as soon as Bob reached the top of the ladders.
Strategy 4: Jill found a small net which we then attached to a long stick. Bob tried to catch the swallow, but no luck. I tried and almost caught him but he was far too quick and clever for us.
Strategy 5: Bob fetched a large sheet which we held up like a net to stop him flying across the other side of the room and hopefully encourage him to fly out of the windows instead. It did stop him, but he just held onto the blinds instead.
Strategy 6: We opened the very top windows on the opposite side of the classroom. We weren’t even sure if they were windows which opened as they had never been opened before. Luckily they did open and after a few minutes, the swallow landed on the edge of the window. The three of us stood and watched, not daring to move. And then, 45 minutes after first entering the classroom, he flew out! Hooray!
As a school, we should feel quite priveleged that this little bird flew all the way from Africa to pay us a visit. I have always wanted to see a swallow close up, but never thought it would be in a school classroom!