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Students’ species knowledge about birds in Berlin


Domestic bird detection

Black throat patch, maroon neck, ashen crest: the male house sparrow hops across the ground in the video, chirping rhythmically. Seventh-grade students note on their questionnaires whether they recognized him by appearance or song.

"We wanted to know which bird species Berlin students know," says Dr. Alexandra Moormann, educational researcher at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, who belongs to an interdisciplinary working group, which was initiated by Ulrike Sturm, project leader of "Discovering Urban Nature".

Together with her colleagues Silke Voigt-Heucke and Dr. Kim Mortega of the project "Research Case Nightingale," Ulrike Sturm and Dr. Moormann designed a questionnaire to test knowledge of regional bird species such as the robin, nightingale, starling and house sparrow. Using video and audio recordings, the school classes were asked to match the bird species.

The results show that many of the students rated themselves better in advance than they actually did. Many of the birds were recognized by their appearance; song recognition was difficult. The comparison to a similar study of a working group in Bavaria showed that the Berlin school students performed worse than they did.

The project was carried out with some seventh-grade classes at a few Highschools in Berlin. The results will be used to create teaching materials.


Sturm, U., Voigt-Heucke, S., Mortega, K.G. & Moormann, A. (2020). Die Artenkenntnis von Berliner Schüler_innen am Beispiel einheimischer Vögel. ZfDN (2020).