Welcome to the CBWPS, the bird club of Cornwall. Whatever your personal level of interest in birds, the Society offers you opportunities to develop your interest and get the most out of bird watching in Cornwall.

Nearly 450 species have been recorded from the county (over 80% of the total recorded in the UK) of which some 115 are regular breeders. This reflects the wealth of Cornwall’ birds and indicates how exciting discovering bird life can be. To keep you informed of developments in the county, members receive our newsletter called Palores in addition to our comprehensive Annual Bird Report ‘Birds in Cornwall’. A varied programme of field trips and indoor events are also included in the membership. These meetings enable beginners to meet the local experts, to develop bird watching skills, compare optical equipment and to share their fascination for birds and the environment. During the dark evenings of autumn and winter, indoor lectures cover a variety of topics, with speakers of national and international acclaim who are both entertaining and knowledgeable about their subject.

The Society has provided hides at several key locations to enable bird watchers to enjoy birds in relative comfort and to minimise disturbance at the site. Some are on our own reserves, which are scattered round the county, others by estuaries and reservoirs.

The Society has the advantage of being able to concentrate on smaller reserves than most national conservation bodies would feel it viable to obtain. On some reserves we undertake active land management to improve the specialised habitats for birds and other wildlife. We work closely with other conservation bodies and combined efforts can prove very productive. For example, we have been able to make joint purchases with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust of two important reserves at Maer Lake and Windmill Farm on the Lizard, sites which neither organisation would be able to purchase on their own.

We have now launched Cornwall’s Tetrad Atlas, a survey of both breeding and wintering birds by 2km. squares that is scheduled to take up most of the decade of this new century.

Being concentrated at county level, we are able to liaise with national organisations such as the BTO, RSPB, Environment Agency, English Nature, National Trust and many other organisations by advising on species and sites of importance and co-ordinating counts and surveys.

Since the formation of the Society back in 1931, we have lost Montagu’s Harrier, Dunlin, Corncrake, Woodlark and Red-backed Shrike as breeding species in the county. Over the next decade we might well lose Corn Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Curlew, Snipe, Puffin and Grey Partridge. Some of these losses have perhaps been inevitable, but knowledge of the requirements of specialised species, gained through the observations of amateurs, and liaison with land owners, might well save or bring back some of these in the future.

However, it is not all doom and gloom, as we have gained Great Crested Grebe, Black-headed Gull, Little Egret, Hobby, Crossbill, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Collared Dove, Cetti’s Warbler and might well gain Goshawk and Goosander in the near future; the Dartford Warbler has already returned to breed in Cornwall in recent years and Choughs are being reported with greater frequency. Indeed, a pair are now breeding annually on the Lizard – the first for over fifty years.

We know all of this because of observations from our members, collated and published in the annual reports, valued documents of great historical interest and a very useful research source for conservation projects in Cornwall.

All of this work is undertaken on a voluntary basis and cannot be affectively achieved without the growing support of a growing membership. When the Society was launched way back in 1931, the dedicated group of founding members could not have imagined the fantastic growth in interest in birds, let alone have foreseen the dramatic changes and pressures placed upon the countryside over the ensuing seven decades.

Your membership is a valued contribution and will be spent wisely in protecting, researching and in spreading the word about the importance of maintaining a varied natural avifauna in our beautiful county. Simply by joining the CBWPS, you would be showing that you care for Cornwall’s bird life.

Thank you very much for your support.

Ian McCarthy (President)

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