West Midland Bird Club

Chronology

This is an expanded version of the Chronology in the Club's 400th Bulletin.
Year Highlight
1929

The Birmingham Bird Club formed by W. E. Groves and a few friends. The inaugural meeting, of four people, was held at Mr. Groves' home on 1 November.

1930

The Club's second  meeting was held in a room at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham.

Membership was limited to twelve, although guests were occasionally allowed.

1934

The first annual report of the Birmingham Bird Club published, edited by Mr.H. G. Alexander.

1935

Associate membership at 5 shillings (25p) a year introduced.

1939

Mr. A. J. Harthan took over as editor of the Annual Report, which had 19 contributors.

The Club had 15 Members and 60 Associates.

The 10th Annual report was limited by wartime economies to 16 pages, and was priced at 1/6 (under 8p).

1944

The first record of a Buzzard nesting in Worcestershire since 1836 was reported.

1945

Name changed to Birmingham and District Bird Club.

The distinction between "Members" and "Associates" was dropped.

Horace ("H.G.") Alexander elected President.

Indoor meetings resumed after the cessation of World War II.

Membership cost 10 shillings (50p).

Junior Members were admitted for the first time.

1946

The Club's first proper committee, of eight members, was elected.

H. G. Alexander became President.

C. A. (Tony) Norris became Editor and Secretary in the Autumn.

Field meetings introduced, including first visit to Slimbridge.

1947

Club's name changed to The Birmingham and West Midland Bird Club. A move to drop "Birmingham" from the name was rejected by the Committee.

A constitution and rules were formally adopted.

The first was published.

Membership rose to 219, plus 39 juniors.

1948

branch formed.

Studley branch formed.

Indoor meeting held in Birmingham Art Gallery for the first time — average attendance a fraction under 85.

Membership passed 300.

1949

East Warwickshire Branch formed in Coventry.

1950

Heligoland Trap built at Bartley.

South Warwickshire Branch formed.

Membership passed 400.

1951

Publication of the West Midland Bird Distribution Survey.

Average attendance at indoor meetings passed the 100 mark for the first time.

Pressure from the club prevented opencast coal mining activities despoiling Alvecote Pools.

Two "Annual" Reports, covering 1949 & 1950, were published.

The first Knots seen in Warwickshire were recorded.

1952

set up by The Club and the West Wales Field Society.

was filled.

1953

The Bird Club established an arrangement with British Waterways Board to issue permits for bird watching at and .

The Club's Annual Report for 1951, the 18th, (published January 1953) had 44 pages and was priced at 6 shillings (30p).

1954

Club's 25th anniversary.

An article on the Club's history appeared in the Annual Report.

A "conversazione" (conference) was held to celebrate Silver Jubilee at which Sir Landsborough Thompson spoke on 'Migration'.

Membership passed 500.

1956

Urban Bird Survey undertaken.

Observation hide constructed at Belvide Reservoir.

1957

formed.

Founder member W. E. Groves died, aged 89.

First RSPB film show, in conjunction with the Club, held in Birmingham Town Hall.

1958

A joint meeting with the BTO and RSPB held in Birmingham Town Hall with Peter Scott as guest speaker.

Club's 100th bulletin published.

1959

Club's name changed to The West Midland Bird Club.

The first Ruddy Duck in the region was sighted, at Belvide Reservoir.

1960

Lord Hurcomb became President.

1961

The first Collared Doves were seen, and bred, in the region, near Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, and near Worcester.

The first Ruddy Ducks to breed in the region nested at Belvide Reservoir and Gailey.

1962

"Birds of Staffordshire" published.

Cannock & Wyre Forest nest-box schemes started.

The first Collared Dove seen Warwickshire, at Ettington.

The Club appointed its first ringing secretary.

The winter of 1962/3 was the most severe in the club's history

The Annual Report  for 1962 (published July 1963) included the first ever published article by club member W. E. Oddie — better known today as Bill.

1963

The first Collared Doves bred in Warwickshire, at Harborne, Birmingham (later in the West Midlands county).

Single Puffins were found in all three of the region's  counties, in three different months.

The 1963 Annual Report (published August 1964) had 60 pages and was priced at 6 shillings (30p).

1964

Attendance at indoor meetings averaged 200.

1965

Social Evening held in the Imperial Hotel; 90 members attended.

Cecil Lambourne became Club's first Conservation Officer.

1966

10 km square breeding bird survey began.

National Nature Week — many field meetings arranged, open to non-members.

1967

The Annual report (published in June 1968) for this year was the first with a glossy cover. It was priced at 6 shillings (30p) and had 76 pages.

Blithfield Reservoir Birdwatching Permit Scheme began operation.

Club members donated over £26 to the Sea Bird Appeal Fund, in response to the Torrey Canyon oil taker disaster.

The Club registered as a charity

1968

An outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease during the preceding October restricted birding activity.

A first-winter Northern Oriole found dead in Coventry, and finally accepted in 1982 by the BTO Rarities Committee as a genuine vagrant, was the first example of a Nearctic Passerine recorded in the region.

1969

Club's 1,000th member enrolled.

Junior membership age reduced from 14 to 12.

200th bulletin published, in November.

Draycote Reservoir began filling.

1970

"Atlas of Breeding Birds of the West Midlands" published.

To mark European Conservation Year, the Club arranged various field meetings open to non-members.

at Hams Hall set up, with the Club responsible for permit arrangements.

Club membership costs £1 per annum.

The Annual Report for 1970 was the first bound with a spine, having a large black & white photograph on its cover. It had 104 pages and was priced at 50p.

1971

Line drawings used in Annual Report for the first time.

Open day in conjunction with the RSPB — over 1000 people attended.

Kings Norton Golf Club nest box project introduced.

Ruddy Ducks bred for the first time in Worcestershire, at Upton Warren and Westwood Park.

1972

Combined open day with the Wildfowl Trust.

AGM members slide night introduced; 300 members attend.

Position of Membership Secretary introduced.

1973

Over 1,000 reserve permits issued.

First indoor meetings held in .

1974

Open day held in conjunction with the Worcestershire Trust for Nature Conservation.

1975

County boundary alterations required a change in the Annual Report for 1974, to include reference to the new West Midlands county.

Tony Norris accepted Presidency of the Bird Club.

1976

Ruddy Duck logo introduced as the Club's emblem.

"The Birds of Belvide Reservoir" published.

Ruddy Ducks bred for the first time in Warwickshire, at Middleton Hall and Packington Park.

1977

The Club's first own bird reserve established at Belvide Reservoir; a second hide erected.

1978

Post of Permit Secretary established.

1979

50th Anniversary. Reception held in the Banqueting Suite of the Council House, Birmingham.

Post of Deputy Chairman established.

Ruddy Ducks bred for the first time in the West Midlands County, at Edgbaston Park.

1980

The Club left the Art Gallery, its venue for indoor meetings over 30 years.

A third hide was erected at Belvide Reservoir.

Fred Dale Reserve in Wyre Forest established, in conjunction with the Worcestershire Trust for Nature Conservation.

1981

held in Birmingham & Midland Institute for the first time.

Over 500 Belvide permits issued.

1982

"The Birds of the West Midlands" published; the Club's most prestigious publishing venture to date.

Club obtained its own projector.

Club's 300th bulletin published.

Post of Bulletin Editor established.

1983

The Annual Report for 1983, the 50th, had a colour cover for the first time, showing the artwork from "The Birds of the West Midlands".

1984

A joint WMBC, BTO and RSPB day-event held at the Birmingham & Midland Institute.

1985

G. R. Harrison stood down as recorder, being replaced by no less than four people, each as recorder for one of the counties in the Club's region.

1986

Telephone hot-line bird information service started.

Day Event in conjunction with World Wildlife Fund.

1987

Indoor meetings held in Josiah Mason Theatre, Birmingham Central Library, for the first time.

1988

Club tie introduced.

1989

60th Anniversary.

1990

Membership passed 2,000 for the first time.

1991

Frank Gribble and Bill Oddie appointed Vice-Presidents.

Indoor meetings venue moved from the Josiah Mason lecture theatre in Paradise Street, to the Birmingham Medical Institute, Harborne Road, Edgbaston.

The Club undertook a Rook survey.

The Club's Ringing Secretary, Bert Coleman, was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work studying Mute Swans.

1992

Branches of the WMBC set up at Studley and .

A donation of £500 was made to the National Centre for Ornithology in Thetford.

The Club made its first grant for research in the Club's area by a club member.

1993

opened.

New Club rules introduced, following on from last revision in 1981.

Policy statement on the Ruddy Duck cull controversy issue published.

The Club donated £500 towards the Brandon Marsh appeal.

1994

Club's 65th anniversary.

The Club protested at the felling of trees at the Gailey Heronry site.

Nine acres of woodland and area for car parking at Belvide Reserve purchased.

New "Tern raft" launched there.

The Club and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust surrendered the lease on the Fred Dale Reserve.

1995

Meeting with English Nature to discuss their request to carry out experimental control of Ruddy Duck at Club reserves.

Club staged a one day conference at Penkridge "Birds and Man — Conflict or Co-existence".

The Club erected a new 'River' hide at Ladywalk Reserve.

1996

Club received a four-figure legacy from the estate of Eileen Munns.

1997

New hide erected at Belvide to the memory of Dennis and Eileen Munns.

Bulletin re-styled to A5 format.

New long-term Canada Goose enquiry begun.

1998

Negotiations with PowerGen for long-term lease at Ladywalk reached critical stage.

Two new public hides erected at Ladywalk, by PowerGen.

Club involved in re-landscaping Cliff Pool Reserve at .

1999

Club's 70th Anniversary.

Tony Norris retired as the Club's President, to be succeeded by Bill Oddie, TV birder and former Goodie, and a Club member of many years standing.

2001

This website launched.

re-formed.

2002

Post of webmaster established.

2003

Club President Bill Oddie appointed OBE for his servcies to wildlife conservation.

2004

We celebrated our 75th Anniversary.

2005

Publication of The New Birds of the West Midlands

2006

The notoriously muddy paths at Belvide were resurfaced.

Jim Winsper stood down as Chairman; Graham Harrison stood in.

Maragret Surman stood down after 24 years as Permit Secretary — the longest continuous term served by any of the club's officers, in a single post.

2007

Martin Kenrick elected Chairman

The club opened an on-line shop, selling garments branded with our logo.

2008

The Club installed wheelchair-friendly paths at .

2009

The Club started using the social networking sites Facebook * and .

2010

What happens next is up to you…

© West Midland Bird Club, 147 World's End Lane, Birmingham, England B32 1JX
Registered charity, number 213311

Ornithology in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire & the West Midlands county, since 1929.

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