Welcome to Cornwall Bird Watching & Preservation Society, the bird club of Cornwall. Whatever your interest in birds this Society offers you opportunities to develop that interest and to get the most out of bird watching in Cornwall.
Over 450 bird species have been recorded in the county (over 80% of the total recorded in the British Isles) of which some 115 are regular breeders. This reflects the wealth of Cornwall’s birds and indicates how exciting discovering our bird life can be. To keep you informed of developments within the county you will receive our quarterly newsletter, Palores in addition to our comprehensive annual report Birds in Cornwall. We have an excellent website, which is being continually developed (www.cbwps.org.uk) and a varied programme of events. Field meetings are held at a selection of the very best sites throughout the County, enabling beginners to meet local experts and to develop their bird watching skills.
The Society has hides at several key locations to enable bird watchers to enjoy birds in relative comfort and to minimise disturbance. Some are on our Reserves, which are scattered over the County, others by Estuaries and Reservoirs. The Society has the advantage of being able to concentrate on smaller Reserves, which most national conservation bodies would find it difficult to justify. On some Reserves we undertake active land management to improve specialised habitats for birds and other forms of wildlife. Such important places often support rare plants and insects as well as birds. We work closely with other local conservation bodies and our combined efforts can prove very productive: for example we have been able to make joint purchases with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust of two very important Reserves, Maer Lake at Bude and Windmill Farm on the Lizard, sites which neither organisation would have been able to purchase alone.
The Society liaises actively with national organisations such as the BTO, RSPB, Environment Agency, English Nature and the National Trust by advising on species and sites of importance as well as 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 may well also lose Corn Bunting, Curlew, Snipe, Puffin and Grey Partridge. Some of these losses are perhaps 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 may well gain Goshawk and Goosander in the near future; the Dartford Warbler has already returned to breed in Cornwall in recent years and of course the best news of all is the return of the Chough and the Cirl Bunting as breeding birds in Cornwall. The Choughs are doing extremely well, as can be seen from the regular news reports on the Society’s website and the summer of 2011 saw a dramatic increase in the Cornish Cirl Bunting population, with record numbers of chicks being born in the County. 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 effectively achieved without the support of a growing membership. When the Society was launched 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 on our countryside over the ensuing years. Your membership is a highly valued contribution and your subscription will be spent wisely in protecting and researching birds and spreading the word about the importance of maintaining a varied natural avifauna in our beautiful County. Simply by joining the Society you have shown you care for Cornwall’s birdlife.
Thank you very much for your support.
Ian McCarthy (President)