Doncaster school children inspired by a mysterious bird who can be seen locally for just a few weeks every year

A new children’s book named The Mysterious Bird in the Moonlight by Steve Smallman has been inspired by the bird which children at Hatfield Woodhouse Primary School have been studying.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:05 am

The book will be used to teach the children about nature.

Helen Acton, Principal of Hatfield Woodhouse Primary School, said: “This book has enthralled and engaged our children.

“Our oldest children enjoyed the vocabulary and the stunning artwork, whilst our little ones fell in love with the animal characters.

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Archie and Chase with the nightjar mural at Hatfield Woodhouse Primary School.

“We intend to use the book as a starting point for teaching life-cycles and natural habitats in a local context but love the fact that the ultimate message is one of friendship.”

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Numbers of the Nightjar bird have fallen significantly in recent years due to loss of habitat.

The RSPB have given the bird amber conservation status and there is a designated Special Protection Area for breeding at the Humberhead Peatlands.

The bird is inactive by day, well camouflaged by its mottled plumage.

It only visits the UK for a few weeks in the summer before moving onto warmer climates.

There is a superstitious tale about the Nightjar in which it steals milk from nanny goats and turning it sour.

They were once considered to be unlucky and a sign of death and disease.

The book was published by the University of Leeds.

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