Cornwall Bird Watching & Preservation Society
Cornwall Birdwatching & Preservation Society
Charity Commission: Registration No: 255899
The Cornwall Bird-watching and Preservation Society was founded in 1931 at the instigation of Lt.-Col. B. H. Ryves. A programme of work was discussed, and it was decided to concentrate specially on the Chough, with a view to locating the few nesting sites still occupied and to arranging for their safety. Thus the Chough became the Society’s emblem.
The objects of the Society are:
a) to further the study of birds in the field; and
b) to assist in their preservation and conservation
From the outset members were asked to record the arrivals and departures of migrants and to report all interesting observations of birds and their distribution. Since 1931, an annual report, ‘Birds in Cornwall’ has been published. The first report commented that only 6 or 7 occupied Chough sites remained and rarities noted were Bean Goose, 2 Dotterel, Golden Oriole and Dartford Warbler. 103 Dunlin and 3 pairs of Montagu's Harrier nested. The only special rarity was an Alpine Accentor. In 2011, our 80th anniversary year, all these reports will be available on a digitally re-mastered DVD.
It is notable that one of the first Rules of the Society declared that “no person shall become a member of the Society until he declares in writing that he will not take the eggs or skins of any birds protected by law”. Today membership is open to anyone who supports the objects of the Society and currently stands at around 750.
The Society owns or manages 6 reserves:
Walmsley Sanctuary (SW 993746) – was purchased with the money gifted in the will of Dr. R. G. Walmsley to the Society in 1939 and is the only reserve in freehold ownership.
Maer Lake (SX 206073) – is owned jointly by the Society and Cornwall Wildlife Trust. It covers 9.8 acres.
Windmill Farm (SW 693152) – is owned jointly by the Society and by Cornwall Wildlife Trust. It covers 74.8 acres.
Loveny (Colliford Reservoir) (SX 185758) – is jointly managed by the Society and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust under a licence agreement with South West Water.
Drift Reservoir (SW431294) - is managed by the Society under a licence agreement with South West Water.
Stithians Reservoir (SW707372 and SW713350) - is managed by the Society under a licence agreement with South West Water.
The Society publishes a quarterly illustrated newsletter, ‘Palores’ in which there are regular reports from the reserve wardens, updates on recent sightings and feature articles. Also listed is a comprehensive programme of field meetings which beginners are especially encouraged to attend.
Cornwall boasts an impressive list of over 400 bird species. Its south-westerly location and miles of coastline means that rarities and seabirds are often highlighted and breeding and wintering birds take a back seat. However, field work for the Cornwall Bird Atlas was recently completed which will redress this. Work has started on the production of a complete Cornish Avifauna which will include the Atlas data. This mammoth undertaking will take several years to finish but should serve as the county’s ornithological point of reference for years to come.
Full details of daily sightings, events, news, membership and more can be found on the Society’s website www.cbwps.org.uk
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