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Sparrowhawk Game

3 or 4 beanbags or balls

Indoors/ outdoors. Good places—clearings in Skinny Woods, Hawkhill Wood, Innocent Walkway, Craigmillar Castle Park.

This game shows the importance of networks of trees and hedgerows, as shelter for small birds.

Arrange everyone in a circle and explain that these people are trees, around a field, which is the space in the middle. All ‘trees’ must stand upright with their roots firmly in the ground. One person should be chosen to be the ‘sparrowhawk’, which is very hungry. What do sparrowhawk’s eat? They eat small birds (e.g. sparrows!). The beanbags / balls represent these small birds, which the sparrowhawk has to catch. Explain that the beanbags are thrown across the circle from person to person, just as small birds fly from tree to tree. Start off by throwing one beanbag across the circle, then increase the number of beanbags. When the sparrowhawk catches a beanbag, choose somebody else to be the sparrowhawk.

The next stage of the game demonstrates how hedges are good hiding places for small birds, as the birds do not have to fly so far between trees, therefore being less exposed to attack: instead of passing the beanbags across the circle, they must now be passed round the circle from neighbour to neighbour. It should now be more difficult for the sparrowhawk to find and catch the small birds, than when they flew across the open field.

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