Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: Wikis


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Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Type Conservation charity
Founded 1889 (1889)
Headquarters The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom[1]
Area served United Kingdom
Key people Queen Elizabeth II, patron
Kate Humble, president
Sir Graham Wynne, chief executive[1]
Revenue £ 88.28 million GBP (2006)[1]
Operating income £ 69.7 million GBP (2006)[1]
Net income £ 3.68 million GBP (2006)[1]
Employees 1,545 paid staff[1]
12,750 volunteers[1]

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a British charitable organisation which 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.[2] The RSPB has 1,500 employees, 12,200 volunteers and over 1 million members (including 150,000 youth members), making it the largest wildlife conservation charity in Europe.[3] The RSPB has a number of local groups, and maintains 182 reserves across the United Kingdom.[4]

The charity was founded in Didsbury, Manchester in 1889[5], as a protest group, campaigning against the use of great crested grebe and kittiwake skins and feathers in fur clothing.[6] The society received a Royal Charter in 1904[5] from Edward VII, and was instrumental in petitioning the Parliament of the United Kingdom to introduce acts banning the use of plumage in clothing.[5] Today, the RSPB works with both the civil service and the Government to advise Government policies on conservation and environmentalism.[7]




Conservation lists

The RSPB is one of several organisations that determine the official conservation status list for all birds found in the UK. This consists of three lists - red, green and amber - with red list detailing birds of the highest conservation concern.

For a bird to be on the red list it must fulfill any one of the following four criteria:[8]

  • A globally threatened species
  • A decline in the UK population (1800 to 1995)
  • At least a 50% decline in the UK breeding population over last 25 years
  • At least a 50% reduction in the UK breeding range over last 25 years


A lake on the RSPB West Sedgemoor reserve.

The RSPB maintains 203 reserves throughout the United Kingdom,[4] covering a wide range of habitats, from estuaries and mudflats to urban habitats.[9] The reserves usually have bird hides provided for birdwatchers, and many reserves provide visitor centres which include information about the wildlife which can be seen around the reserve.[10]


The RSPB has published a members-only magazine for over a century.

Bird Notes

Bird Notes  
Discipline Ornithology
Language English
Publication details
Publisher RSPB (United Kingdom)
Publication history 1903 (1903)-1966

Bird Notes and News (ISSN 0406-3392) was first published in April 1903.

The title changed to 'Bird Notes' in 1947. ​From March 1953, 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.[11]

From January 1964 (vol. 31, no. 1), publication increased from the previous four copies per year (one for each season, published on the 1st of each third month, March, June, September and December), to six, (issued in the odd-numbered months, January, March and so on, but dated "January-February", "March-April", etc.). Volumes 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..

  • Miss M. G. Davies, BA, MBOU (for many years, until vol. 30 no. 9)
  • John Clegg (from vol. 31 No. 1 – vol. 31 no. 3)
  • Jeremy Boswell (from vol. 31 no. 4 - vol. 31 no. 12)


Discipline Ornithology
Language English
Edited by Sarah Brennan
Publication details
Publisher RSPB (United Kingdom)
Publication history 1966 (1966)-present
Frequency Quarterly
ISSN 1367-983X

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.

Birds is still published quarterly, the August–October 2009 edition being vol. 22 no. 7.

  • Jeremy Boswell (vol. 1 no.1 - vol. 1 no. 6)
  • Michael Everett (vol. 1 no. 6 (with Boswell) & vol. 1 no. 7 (with Nicholas Hammond))
  • Nicholas Hammond (vol. 1 no. 7 - vol. 5 no. 6)
  • Gerald Searle (vol. 5 no. 7 - vol. 6 no. 5)
  • Nicholas Hammond (vol. 6 no. 6 - vol. 6 no. 9)
  • No editor credited (vol. 7 no. 1 - vol. 8 no. 5)
  • Sylvia Sullivan (vol. 8 no. 6 - vol. 10 no. 2)
  • Nicholas Hammond (vol. 10 no. 3 - vol. 11 no. 1)
  • Annette Preece ("Managing Editor", vol. 11 no. 2 - vol. 12 no. 4)
  • Rob Hume (vol. 12 no. 5 - vol. 22 no. 6)
  • Sarah Brennan (vol. 22 no. 7 - )

Junior divisions

The RSPB has two separate groups for children and teenagers: Wildlife Explorers (formerly the Young Ornithologists Club) and RSPB Phoenix. Wildlife Explorers is targeted at children aged between 8 and 12, although it also has some younger members,[12] 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[13]. The RSPB is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services[14].


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.[1] 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.[15] 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.


Winifred Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland, painted by Philip Alexius de László in 1912

Chief officers

Over time, the RSPB's chief officers have had a number of different titles.

  • Peter Conder - Director 1964 - 1975[18]
  • Ian Prestt - Director General 1975 - June 1991[16]
  • Barbara Young - Chief Executive, June 1991 - 1998
  • Sir Graham Wynne - Chief Executive, current

Associate Organisations

The RSPB is a member of Wildlife and Countryside Link[19]. The RSPB is the UK Partner of BirdLife International.[20]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h RSPB Annual Report, 2005 - 2006. Retrieved 19 February 2007.
  2. ^ "What does the RSPB do?". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  3. ^ "About the RSPB". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  4. ^ a b "Basic facts and figures". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  5. ^ a b c "Milestones". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  6. ^ "History of the RSPB". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  7. ^ "Working Together: Government". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  8. ^ "Red, Amber and Green explained". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-04-30.  
  9. ^ "Reserves by habitat". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-20.  
  10. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-20.  
  11. ^ RSPB Birds magazine, Vol 16 No 01, February-April 1996, page 10
  12. ^ "About youth groups". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-20.  
  13. ^ "Gift Membership". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-20.  
  14. ^ Full list of NCVYS members
  15. ^ "Gift Aid". RSPB. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  16. ^ a b c RSPB Birds magazine, Vol 13 No 7, Autumn 1991
  17. ^ "Springwatch star Kate Humble appointed president of RSPB". 3 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-04.  
  18. ^ RSPB Birds magazine, Vol 5 No 11, November-December 1975, pp8-9
  19. ^ Wildlife and Countryside Link, Our members
  20. ^ RSPB, Our partnership with BirdLife International

External links

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