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Redshanks on the coast and Bird Aware Art Fest

Step-by-step guide to creating a redshank collage

Redshanks are wading birds that travel from as far as Iceland to spend the winter on the Solent.

They are known as ‘Wardens of the Marshes’ because they are often the first bird to sound the alarm if a predator is nearby!

These instructions will take you through how to make your very own redshank collage. Younger artists will need support/supervision from a grown up.

Redshank made from leaves and sticks
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You will need:

  • A selection of large, brown leaves – between 10 and 15 should be enough.
  • A selection of sticks: two of them should be roughly 20cm for its legs; one should be roughly 5cm for its beak; six should be roughly 3cm for its feet
  • Red or orange paint
  • A thin paint brush
  • PVA glue and something to spread it with – cotton buds work well
  • A sheet of thick paper or card
  • A black pen
  • A small piece of white, scrap paper
The art equipment you'll need for making a redshank
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A child collects leaves from the ground

Step 1: gather your leaves and sticks

Start with a walk to collect clean leaves and twigs (be careful of mud and dog mess!). Always take them from the ground– picking leaves and sticks from trees can damage them.

If you decide to visit somewhere coastal, remember to follow the Bird Aware Solent Coastal Code: look out for birds, move away if birds become alert, follow requests on signs and keep dogs alongside.

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Step 2: draw an outline

Once you’re back home and settled, draw a sideways oval shape on your paper (like an egg on its side) for your redshank’s body, then draw a circle on the top right hand ‘corner’ for the head.

A drawn outline of a redshank collage

Step 3: time to add ‘feathers’

Now, position your leaves on your redshank’s head and body and stick them down– these are your redshank’s feathers!

A redshank collage with leaves attached to represent feathers
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A redshank collage with beak, legs and feet attached and painted

Step 4: apply legs and a beak

Your redshank now needs legs, feet, and a beak. Take your two longest sticks and glue them under your redshank’s tummy – these will be the legs. Then, take your smallest sticks, arrange them so they look like feet, and glue them down. Lastly, take your mid-length stick and glue it by the face for the beak. Once they are all stuck down, paint the legs, feet, and beak red or orange.

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Step 5: add an eye

To make your redshank’s eye, simply cut out a small circle from a sheet of white paper and draw a black dot in the middle. You can then stick the ‘eye’ in the middle of the redshank’s head.

And that’s it! You should now have a complete, handmade redshank.

A completed redshank collage

Find out more about redshanks by visiting our ‘meet the birds’ page.

Share your artwork with us!

We’d love to see what you’ve made. Send us a photo via email:

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Facebook: Bird Aware Solent
Twitter: @BirdAwareSolent