The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a charitable organisation registered in England and Wales and in Scotland. It was founded in 1889. It works to promote conservation and protection of birds and the wider environment through public awareness campaigns, petitions and through the operation of nature reserves throughout the United Kingdom.
The RSPB has over 1,300 employees, 18,000 volunteers and more than a million members (including 195,000 youth members), making it the largest wildlife conservation charity in Europe. The RSPB has many local groups and maintains 200 nature reserves.
|Royal Society for the Protection of Birds|
|Founded||1889, Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden, Manchester|
|Headquarters||The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, England|
2 Lochside View, Edinburgh, Scotland
|Revenue||£88.28 million GBP (2006)|
|£69.7 million GBP (2006)|
|£3.68 million GBP (2006)|
Number of employees
The origins of the RSPB lie with two groups of women, both formed in 1889. The Plumage League was founded by Emily Williamson at her house in Didsbury, Manchester, (now in Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden), as a protest group campaigning against the use of great crested grebe and kittiwake skins and feathers in fur clothing. The Fur, Fin and Feather Folk was founded in Croydon by Eliza Phillips, Etta Lemon, Catherine Hall and others. The groups gained in popularity and amalgamated in 1891 to form the Society for the Protection of Birds in London. The Society gained its Royal Charter in 1904.
The original members of the RSPB were all women who campaigned against the fashion of the time for women to wear exotic feathers in hats, and the consequent encouragement of "plume hunting". To this end the Society had two simple rules:
- That Members shall discourage the wanton destruction of Birds, and interest themselves generally in their protection
- That Lady-Members shall refrain from wearing the feathers of any bird not killed for purposes of food, the ostrich only excepted.
At the time of founding, the trade in plumage for use in hats was very large: in the first quarter of 1884, almost 7,000 bird-of-paradise skins were being imported to Britain, along with 400,000 birds from West India and Brazil, and 360,000 birds from East India.
In 1890, the society published its first leaflet, entitled Destruction of Ornamental-Plumaged Birds, aimed at saving the egret population by informing wealthy women of the environmental damage wrought by the use of feathers in fashion. A later 1897 publication, Bird Food in Winter, aimed to address the use of berries as winter decoration and encouraged the use of synthetic berries to preserve the birds food source. By 1898 the RSPB had 20,000 members and in 1897 alone had distributed over 16,000 letters and 50,000 leaflets.
The Society attracted support from some women of high social standing who belonged to the social classes that popularised the wearing of feathered hats, including the Duchess of Portland (who became the Society's first President) and the Ranee of Sarawak. As the organisation began to attract the support of many other influential figures, both male and female, such as the ornithologist Professor Alfred Newton, it gained in popularity and attracted many new members. The society received a Royal Charter in 1904 from Edward VII, just 15 years after its founding, and was instrumental in petitioning the Parliament of the United Kingdom to introduce laws banning the use of plumage in clothing.
At the time that the Society was founded in Britain, similar societies were also founded in other European countries. In 1961, the society acquired The Lodge in Sandy, Bedfordshire as its new headquarters. The RSPB's logo depicts an Avocet. The first version was designed by Robert Gillmor.
Today, the RSPB works with both the civil service and the Government to advise Government policies on conservation and environmentalism. It is one of several organisations that determine the official conservation status list for all birds found in the UK.
The RSPB does not run bird hospitals nor offer animal rescue services.
The RSPB maintains over 200 reserves throughout the United Kingdom, covering a wide range of habitats, from estuaries and mudflats to forests and urban habitats. The reserves often have bird hides provided for birdwatchers and many provide visitor centres, which include information about the wildlife that can be seen there.
The RSPB confers awards, including the President's Award, for volunteers who make a notable contribution to the work of the society.
According to the RSPB:
The RSPB Medal is the Society's most prestigious award. It is presented to an individual in recognition of wild bird protection and countryside conservation. It is usually awarded annually to one or occasionally two people.
The RSPB has published a members-only magazine for over a century.
Cover of Autumn 1946 issue of Bird Notes, Vol. 23, No. 3
RSPB (United Kingdom)
The title changed to Bird Notes in 1947. In the 1950s, there were four copies per year (one for each season, published on the 1st of each third month, March, June, September and December). Each volume covered two years, spread over three calendar years. For example, volume XXV (25), number one was dated Winter 1951, and number eight in the same volume was dated Autumn 1953.
From the mid-1950s, many of the covers were by Charles Tunnicliffe. Two of the originals are on long-term loan to the Tunnicliffe gallery at Oriel Ynys Môn, but in 1995 the RSPB sold 114 at a Sotheby's auction, raising £210,000, the most expensive being a picture of a partridge which sold for £6,440.
From January 1964 (vol. 31, no. 1), publication increased to six per year, (issued in the odd-numbered months, January, March and so on, but dated "January–February", "March–April", etc.). Volumes again covered two years, so vol. 30, covering 1962–63, therefore included nine issues, ending with the "Winter 1963–64" edition instead of eight. The final edition, vol. 31 no. 12, was published in late 1965.
|Edited by||Mark Ward|
RSPB (United Kingdom)
Bird Notes' successor Birds (ISSN 1367-983X) replaced it immediately, with volume 1, number 1 being the January–February 1966 edition. Issues were published quarterly, numbered so that a new volume started every other year.
The Autumn 2013 edition, dated August–October 2013, being vol. 25 no. 7, was the last.
|Edited by||Mark Ward|
RSPB (United Kingdom)
In Winter 2013 Birds was replaced by a new magazine, Nature's Home. The editor was Mark Ward. The magazine had an ABC-certified circulation of 600,885.
The RSPB has two separate groups for children and teenagers: Wildlife Explorers (founded in 1943 as the Junior Bird Recorders' Club; from 1965–2000 the Young Ornithologists Club or YOC) and RSPB Phoenix. Wildlife Explorers is targeted at children aged between 8 and 12, although it also has some younger members, and has two different magazines: Wild Times for the under 8s and Bird Life for those over 8. RSPB Phoenix is aimed at teenagers, and produces Wingbeat magazine, although members also receive Bird Life magazine. The RSPB is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services.
RSPB organises bird record data collection in annual collective birdwatching days in Britain. RSPB claims this is the "world's biggest wildlife survey" and helps that society to get a better knowledge on bird population trends in Britain. That activity was launched in 1979 as an activity for kids, although from 2001 is a survey open to adults too. In 2011 over 600,000 people took part, being only 37% RSPB's members. The usual date for this birdwatching collective activity is the January's last weekend. From the start of this annual survey records for sparrows show a decline of 60%, while starling population's decline is about 80% from 1979 to 2012.
BirdTrack is an online citizen science website, operated by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) on behalf of a partnership of the BTO, the RSPB, BirdWatch Ireland, the Scottish Ornithologists' Club and the Welsh Ornithological Society (Welsh: Cymdeithas Adaryddol Cymru).
The RSPB is funded primarily by its members; in 2006, over 50% of the society's £88 million income came from subscriptions, donations and legacies, worth a total of £53.669 million. As a registered charity, the organisation is entitled to gift aid worth an extra £0.28 on every £1.00 donated by income tax payers. It also receives contractual payments from clean energy utilities and financiers of renewable energy solutions, when its members sign up as clients. The bulk of the income (£63.757 million in 2006) is spent on conservation projects, maintenance of the reserves and on education projects, with the rest going on fundraising efforts and reducing the pension deficit, worth £19.8 million in 2006.
It was reported in an article in The Daily Mail on 2 November 2014 that claims that the charity "was spending 90 per cent of its income on conservation" by the UK Advertising Standards Authority were incorrect. The article claimed that the true figure was closer to 26%. The Charity Commission investigated the claims, and contacted the RSPB to get it to clarify its web statement. The RSPB complied, with the clarification that 90% of its net income (after expenses, not gross income as received) was spent on conservation, and that conservation activities were diverse, not limited to spending on its own nature reserves. This was accepted by the Charity Commission.
The RSPB is a member of Wildlife and Countryside Link. The RSPB is the UK Partner of BirdLife International and manages the South Atlantic Invasive Species Project on behalf of the partner governments.
Adur Estuary is a 60.3-hectare (149-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest on the western outskirts of Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex. Part of it is a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve.The estuary has large areas of saltmarsh. Sea purslane is dominant above the mean high water mark and glasswort below. There are also intertidal mudflats which are nationally important for ringed plovers and other wading birds include redshanks and dunlin.There is no public access to the RSPB reserve.Breydon Water
Breydon Water is a 514.4-hectare (1,271-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest at Great Yarmouth Norfolk. It is a Local Nature Reserve, a Ramsar site and a Special Protection Area. It is part of the Berney Marshes and Breydon Water nature reserve, which is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).It is a large stretch of sheltered estuary. It is at the gateway to The Broads river system on the eastern edge of Halvergate Marshes. It is the UK's largest protected wetland. It is 5 km (3 mi) long and more than 1.5 km (0.9 mi) wide in places.
Breydon Water is overlooked at the southern end by the remains of the Roman Saxon Shore fort at Burgh Castle. Centuries ago, Breydon Water would have been one large estuary facing the sea. At the western end the water may be considered to start at the confluence of the River Yare and River Waveney; smaller sources including The Fleet flow in from the surrounding marshland. Safe passage for boats is indicated by red and green marker posts. Unlike most of the navigable waterways in the Norfolk Broads, Breydon Water is not subject to a speed limit.
At the east end of Breydon Water the river returns to a narrow channel, passing under Breydon Bridge after which it is joined by the River Bure then under Haven Bridge from where it is 4.4 km (2.7 mi) through the harbour into the North Sea.Canvey Wick
Canvey Wick is a 93.2 hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest at the south-west corner of Canvey Island in Essex. It is owned by the Land Trust and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Buglife.The site was formerly the Occidental oil refinery, and has been transformed into an area of grazing marsh. It has a nationally important population of invertebrates, including 22 which are endangered Red Book species, and three which had been recorded as extinct in Britain. It also has a nationally important population of shrill carder bees. Scrub edges provide additional habitats. The site has been described as "a brownfield rainforest" by Natural England officer Chris Gibson.The entrance to the reserve is on Northwick Road.Cattawade Marshes
Cattawade Marshes is an 88.3 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest between East Bergholt and Manningtree in Essex and Suffolk. It is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It is a Ramsar wetland of international importance, and part of the Stour and Orwell Special Protection Area, and the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural BeautyThe site is a marsh area between two arms of the River Stour. It is of major importance for breeding birds, especially waders and wildfowl, such as Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck and Water Rail. Other habitats are grassland and ditches.There is no public access but the site can be viewed from a public footpath on the south side of the river.Fore Wood
Fore Wood is a 20.9-hectare (52-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest north-west of Hastings in East Sussex. It is part of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve of the same name.The woodland in this steep valley is variable and it has been considerably modified in some areas. Flora include hay-scented buckler-fern, greater wood-rush and hard fern, as well as three rare mosses. There is also a rich community of breeding birds.Forsinard Flows National Nature Reserve
Forsinard Flows is a national nature reserve (NNR) covering much of the area surrounding Forsinard in the Highland council area of Scotland. It lies at the heart of the Flow Country, a large, rolling expanse of peatland and wetland area of Caithness and Sutherland that makes up almost 5 % of the world's blanket bog. The reserve is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and is designated a Category II protected area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Much of the NNR overlaps with the designated area of the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation.Fowlmere RSPB reserve
Fowlmere is a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve between Fowlmere and Melbourn in Cambridgeshire. It is designated a 39.9 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest called Fowlmere Watercress Beds.Fowlmere's reedbeds and pools are fed by natural chalk springs and a chalk stream runs through the reserve. It has three hides, one of which is wheelchair-accessible. Special birds include kingfishers, water rails, sedge warblers, reed warblers and grasshopper warblers plus a roost of corn buntings in winter.Glenborrodale
Glenborrodale (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Bhorghdail) is a coastal community on Loch Sunart in the south of the Ardnamurchan peninsula in the Highland area of Scotland.
It gives its name to a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' reserve in the nearby oakwoods.
Glenborrodale Castle was built as a guest house by Charles Rudd, the main business associate of Cecil Rhodes, and was later owned by Jesse Boot, who was the proprietor of the Boots chain of chemist shops. Its grounds include Risga and Eilean an Feidh.In May 1746, following the Jacobite rising of 1745 two French supply ships were attacked off Glenborrodale by three ships of the Royal Navy.Grassholm
Grassholm (Welsh: Gwales or Ynys Gwales) or Grassholm Island is a small uninhabited island situated 13 kilometres (8 mi) off the southwestern Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, lying west of Skomer, in the community of Marloes and St Brides. It is the westernmost point in Wales other than the isolated rocks on which the Smalls Lighthouse stands. Grassholm is known for its huge colony of northern gannets; the island has been owned since 1947 by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and is one of its oldest reserves. It reaches 42 metres (138 ft).
Grassholm National Nature Reserve is the third most important site for gannets in the world, after two sites in Scotland; St Kilda and Bass Rock. It serves as a breeding site for 39,000 pairs of the birds, and supports around 10 percent of the world population. The turbulent sea around Grassholm also provides good feeding ground for porpoises and bottlenose dolphins.
The island has a significant problem with marine plastic, brought to the island by breeding gannets, as nesting material which the birds have mistaken for seaweed floating in the surrounding waters. The problem has been ongoing through twelve years of RSPB conservation to 2017, and surveys have indicated that 80% of nests contain waste plastics.Boats sail to Grassholm from St Davids Lifeboat Station and Martin's Haven on the mainland, but members of the public are not permitted to land.Geologically, the island is largely formed from keratophyre though the northwest coast and islet of West Tump are formed from basalt. A couple of NE-SW aligned faults cross the island. Raised beaches are present in places.Nagshead SSSI
Nagshead (grid reference SO608090) is a 120.12-hectare (296.8-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest and is located near Parkend, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, and was notified in 1972. It lies within the Forest of Dean Forest Park and is part held as a reserve by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The SSSI is a relatively small area of the much larger nature reserve of RSPB Nagshead, which is a 1,250 acres (510 ha) site owned and managed by the RSPB and the Forestry Commission. The SSSI lies to the east of the Nagshead Plantation and consists of two units of assessment by Natural England.
The site is listed in the 'Forest of Dean Local Plan Review' as a Key Wildlife Site (KWS).Nene Washes
Nene Washes is a 1,522.1 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest on the bank of the River Nene east of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. It is also a Ramsar internationally important wetland site, a Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area and a Nature Conservation Review site. An area of 280 hectares is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.This is described by Natural England as one of Britain's few remaining areas of washland which are vital for the survival of wildfowl and waders. Wintering wildfowls include wigeons, teals, pintails and Bewick's swans. The rich flora in ditches include uncommon species such as frogbit, water violet and flowering rush.There is access to the RSPB reserve immediately east of the B1040 road from Nene Way. The western end is private land with no public access.Northward Hill
Northward Hill is a 52.5-hectare (130-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest Kent. It is a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade 2, and is also designated High Halstow National Nature Reserve The site is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.This site has mixed woodland, scrub, ponds, grassland and bracken. It has the largest heronry in Britain, with more than 200 pairs, and insects include the scarce sloe carpet and least carpet moths.There is access by public footpaths from High Halstow.Ouse Washes
Ouse Washes is a linear 2,513.6 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest stretching from near St Ives in Cambridgeshire to Downham Market in Norfolk. It is also a Ramsar internationally important wetland site, a Special Protection Area under the European Union Birds Directive, a Special Area of Conservation, and a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I. An area of 186 hectares between March and Ely is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, and another area near Chatteris is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust manages another area near Welney.Portmore Lough
Portmore Lough (from Irish Loch an Phoirt Mhóir, meaning 'lake of the great landing place') is a small lake in southwest County Antrim, Northern Ireland that drains water into nearby Lough Neagh. It is roughly circular and covers an area of 286 hectares. The Lough and its shoreland is designated a Ramsar site, a Special Protection Area (SPA) and an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). The lough is now part of a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve.The lough is near the site of the former Portmore Castle, erected in 1664 and removed in 1761. It is also the presumed location of the Portmore Ornament Tree whose demise in a windstorm of 1760 is lamented in the Irish folk song, Bonny Portmore.Portmore Lough has the alternative name Lough Beg (Loch Bheag, or "small lake"), not to be confused with the Lough Beg on the Lower Bann.Pulborough Brooks
Pulborough Brooks is a 160-hectare (400-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest south of Pulborough in West Sussex. It is part of the Pulborough Brooks nature reserve, which is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It is also part of the Arun Valley Ramsar site, Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area.These wet meadows are crossed by a network of ditches, some of which have a rich aquatic flora and invertebrate fauna, including several which are nationally rare. The site is internationally important for wintering wildfowl and many species of birds breed there, such as lapwing, snipe, garganey, yellow wagtail, grey partridge, skylark, reed bunting and barn owl.Radipole Lake
Radipole Lake is a lake on the River Wey, now in the English coastal town of Weymouth, Dorset, once in Radipole, the village and parish of the same name. Along the western shore of the lake, and between Radipole and the town centre of Weymouth, now lies the modern suburb of Southill.
The lake is a nature reserve run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, as it is an important habitat for reedbed birds. The Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre at Radipole Lake features nature and bird exhibits and programs, trails and viewing blinds.
The lake flows into Weymouth Harbour.Stour Estuary
Stour Estuary is a 2,523 hectare biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest which stretches from Manningtree to Harwich in Essex and Suffolk. It is also an internationally important wetland Ramsar site, a Special Protection Area and a Nature Conservation Review site. It is part of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and there are Geological Conservation Review sites in Wrabness, Stutton, and Harwich Part of the site is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and a small area is Wrabness Nature Reserve, a Local Nature Reserve managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.The estuary is nationally important for thirteen species of wintering wildfowl and three on autumn passage, for coastal saltmarsh, sheltered muddy shores, two scarce marine invertebrates, scarce plants and three geological sites. Birds include redshank, black-tailed godwit and dunlin, and there are nationally important sponges, ascidians and red algae. Harwich has thirty ash layers dating to the Eocene Harwich Formation and the succeeding London Clay. Wrabness has the most complete succession of ashes showing the importance of volcanism in southern England in the early Eocene. Stutton has fossils dating to the mid-Pleistocene, including extinct mammals such as straight-tusked elephants, mammoths and giant deer.The Oa
The Oa ( OH) (Scottish Gaelic: An Obha) is a rocky peninsula in the southwest of the island of Islay, in Argyll, Scotland. It is an RSPB nature reserve.West Sedgemoor
West Sedgemoor or West Sedge Moor (grid reference ST361258) is an area of the Somerset Levels, in Somerset, England, around 8 miles (13 km) east of Taunton, which approximately coincides with the West Sedgemoor biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, a 1,016 hectare (3.9 sq miles) site notified as an SSSI in 1983. It is a flat, low-lying area (approx. 5 metres above sea level) of fields and meadows separated by water-filled rhynes and ditches. It is subject to controlled flooding in winter. It is drained by the River Parrett.
Part of the moor is a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reserve. A rich invertebrate fauna is present including scarce water beetles, dragonflies and bugs. The site also supports good populations of waterfowl, especially waders.
Breeding birds include snipe, lapwing, redshank, curlew, water rail, yellow wagtail and whinchat.Swell Wood, an ancient deciduous wood on the southern edge of the reserve, has one of the UK's largest heronries, which is best visited between March and June.