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Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: Over a century of saving birds

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds logo
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is extremely well known throughout the UK, but I include it because it is much less well known outside the UK although it is expanding more and more into international conservation projects, and also because it is an excellent example showing how a local conservation organization can be run extremely successfully.  The RSPB has focused its efforts into three main arenas: protect habitat through their 200+ reserves scattered around the UK, initiate programs which build up endangered species numbers, and use their political clout (through their more than one million members) to effect positive change regarding wildlife and native habitats.
Over the past 122 years the RSPB has been protecting birds, originally from the feather trade but increasingly also habitat destruction, climate change, over-hunting, and many other causes.  Consequently, the RSPB's mission has been continually expanding without ever losing sight of their original formation rationale.  The RSPB now have more than 13,000 volunteers and over 1,300 employees who work towards their goals and exemplify how you can successfully coordinate large disparate groups into a cohesive, functional unit which can accomplish many different conservation projects.  The RSPB no longer only advocates (although it is certainly still their major focus), but also protect endangered species habitat.  The RSPB is very extensive, and their various foci are varied indeed.
Their refuge system is the RSPB's most visible part, so I will start there.  I had the good fortune to have visited half a dozen RSPB refuges and was extremely impressed by them all given their public accessibility (well-maintained trails), their excellent facilities (impressive blinds/hides), and excellent educational messages throughout.  My favorite RSPB refuge is Minsmere.  Minsmere has seven excellent birdwatching blinds, an elevated viewing platform, and many birds which have become much less common throughout Great Britain, including great bittern Botaurus stellaris and bearded tit Panurus biarmicus, which Minsmere is intensively managed for (and I was pleased I saw both there).  I saw numerous bird species there which I did not see anywhere else and I would unhesitatingly recommend Minsmere (and their other refuges, given the quality of those which I saw) as an excellent place to spend a day.  I do not have anything bad to say about them- they are wonderful.
The RSPB understands the only way conservation projects will be successful is if you incorporate local people- this is the key.  The RSPB educate farmers regarding ways which they can make their farms more wildlife-friendly and persuade the government to provide farmers incentives if they become wildlife-friendly, and have had great success through that endeavor.
The RSPB also reintroduces birds back into their former habitats after threats have been reduced, including Steller's sea eagles Haliaeetus albicilla, common cranes Grus grus, and cirl buntings Emberiza cirlus.
Just because the RSPB is much larger and better established than other conservation organizations I cover is not me suggesting the RSPB doesn't also need help.  They do incredible work, their money is well spent, and their results are astonishing.  The RSPB needs assistance, from monetary donations and goods through volunteers.  If you enjoy wildlife and live within the UK (or possibly outside the UK), I can hardly imagine a better way to get involved than volunteering with this fantastic organization.  Do help them if you are able so they can continue their amazing work.
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6 comments:

  1. this is the best post i ever seen about this animals.. I'm looking about this animal information so long time, for making my research.. thanks a lot from me magnetic jewelry clasp

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  2. Well done on the fantastic work the RSPB does :)

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  3. This is such a good cause that should be supported all the time. I am always for the welfare of our animals especially the endangered ones.

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  4. I never heard such society ever exited especially in the UK. It's really good to know that the number of people taking part on activities to save and preserve our nature is increasing. Thanks for sharing, this is very good news to everyone :)

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  5. Hi Thomas, this is very heart warming. Preserving and taking care of animals is such a good deed and I hope everyone who reads this post will follow your example. Thanks!

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  6. It was my pleasure- the RSPB are the ones doing the hard work!

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