An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To develop our sense of wonder at creation.
Preparation and materials
- You will need two readers.
- Have available some recordings of birdsong and the means to play them during the assembly. Various recordings of birdsong are available at: http://tinyurl.com/l7zq8cu
- Optional: you might like to involve the children in the preparation of the main part of the assembly. They could either do some of the research themselves and then present sections, or collect examples to illustrate the range of types, features and varieties of birds.
- Optional: prior to and following on from the assembly, you could organize for the children to carry out a bird survey over a period of time to discover the types of birds seen in the school grounds or where the children live.
- Play some recordings of birdsong.
Reader 1: So God created . . . every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and . . . let the birds increase on the earth.’ (Genesis 1.21–22, New International Version)
- Using your own or the children’s examples, share a sense of wonder that all these different sorts of birds are part of God’s creation. They are different in size, colour, song and the habitats in which they live, and they are a wonderful example of the variety and richness of creation. All birds have feathers and wings and most can fly, but a few can’t. Birds are also ancient – one of the first birds, the archaeopteryx, lived some 150 million years ago!
- There are reckoned to be more than 9,000 species of birds. The smallest living bird is the bee hummingbird, which can weigh as little as 1.6 g. It lays eggs the size of a pea and its nest is as small as half a walnut shell.
- The largest species of bird is the ostrich, which can weigh up to 156 kg. An ostrich egg can weigh as much as 2.6 kg. It is the heaviest flightless bird.
- The heaviest bird that can fly is the male kori bustard, which can weigh as much as 18 kg. Bald eagles are also large and build massive nests. The largest bald eagle nest found weighed more than two tonnes, which is about the same weight as a small car.
- Each year, the Arctic tern flies from the Arctic – the northernmost part of the planet – to the Antarctic – the southernmost part. Then it flies back again.
- Peregrine falcons dive at speeds of more than 200 mph when hunting prey, swifts can fly at over 100 mph through the air and gentoo penguins can swim underwater at speeds of up to 22 mph!
- Pause and play some more recordings of birdsong, if you are using them.
Ask the children to reflect on all of the interesting things that they have discovered about birds.
Time for reflection
Reader 2: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin . . . But seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6.26–29, 33, New International Version)
Point out that birds are amazing - but God thinks that we are worth far more!
Thank you for the beautiful birds, which add colour and song to our lives.
Help us to see your hand in their creation.
Teach us, please, to make the words we say as pleasant as birdsong.
Help us to be colourful and happy, too, so that our friends and family are pleased to have us around.
You may like to play some more recordings of birdsong as the children leave.