Anyone for cake?

RSPB Liverpool’s 50th Anniversary

RSPB Liverpool AGM and 50th anniversary meeting 25 April 2022

Liverpool RSPB’s 2022 AGM was a special evening, as it’s our 50th anniversary year, and quite rightly we celebrated with cake or should I say cakes. Local group member Anne Ludwig did us proud with 50 bird themed cupcakes and a large iced, layered sponge cake that Chris had the task of slicing up; also ensuring he had first dibs!

We also have 50 specially commissioned nest boxes, engraved with ‘RSPB Liverpool 50yrs Giving Nature a Home’, stock sold out on the night but more available on request.

Fifty nine of our members attended the meeting. Chris gave a Leaders report of the recent year’s activities and future events. We went through the business of re-electing committee members, explaining expenditure and the group’s donation of £1500 to the Gough seabird appeal. 

All attending were given the opportunity to ask questions, make requests or share ideas with the group.

Alasdair McKee, the RSPB’S Local Groups Officer followed giving an expression of thanks for all Liverpool RSPB do from RSPB HQ and then went on to  regale us with snippets from Bird Notes & News, the original RSPB newsletter-

Did you know loathsome bird catching (still going on in the Mediterranean today sadly) was a general practice among English people in days past; for eating, plumage or entertainment?  Cage birds, nets and the abhorrent bird lime was freely advertised, songbirds were sold in big stores as food, including sky larks  and fieldfares in season, and  the Southport  gun club regularly held  starling shoots.

But all was not lost, in 1889, sickened by a slaughter of exotic birds for their feathers; Emily Williamson started the Society for the Protection of Birds to campaign for change. 

I’m pleased to say our  neck of the woods played its part; In 1903 Twenty  of the leading millinery firms in Southport held a  display show of plume free millinery at the RSPB Southport Branch and for 2 days in April their shop window  were full of this trimmed millinery with the card ‘Without destruction to wildlife’… well done .

After campaigning tirelessly for change, the Plumage (Prohibition) Act was passed in July 1921, banning the import of plumage. And Liverpool led the way in 1922, Liverpool succeeded in obtaining the first order issued in England protecting all wild birds throughout the year expressly to stop bird catching in the suburbs in the open season, congratulations to the Liverpool branch of the RSPCA and RSPB.

So what did Chris convey –?

The New RSPB website will be coming online shortly; in the meantime the old site is still accessible showing details of future events.

Our peregrines, sited in the tower of Mossley Hill Church are doing well, and are expectant parents of 3. Male has been named Bruno, his lass is a girl from the Midlands (a ringed peregrine).

Chris, liaising with RSPB HQ has been discussing and attempting to find solutions to the on-going problems of Liverpool’s netted high buildings, such as the Anglican Cathedral and Tobacco warehouse, having been netted to stop Peregrines from breeding for various reasons; to many a distressing situation and sadly not an uncommon practice throughout the country and often in the news.

The RSPB resumed outdoor events in January. Our first being a replacement walk around Sefton Park, normally the group holds a ‘Big garden birdwatch’ event in the Palm House in January. To say it was popular was an understatement as approximately 80 people followed Chris along the paths, a mixture of regular members and those newly interested, several on the walk went on to the join the group and have  been out with us again.

Chris has been working with the NHS’s nature recovery ranger. Covering Aintree, broadgreen and the royal hospitals, a series of short local woodland health walks is what’s prescribed, in the fresh air, embracing nature, connecting to green spaces to benefit their mental and physical health. Every hospital should have a ranger –

RSPB Liverpool will be on board for the two Bird watching Mersey ferry cruises planned this year 16th July and 11rh of September. (Ticket Prices Adults – £20, Children aged (3-15) – £10)

Chris joined RSPB Liverpool in 1996, within a few years he was group leader.  In 2003 he was working for the RSPB on Southport pier, a testament to his skills in talking to, sharing his knowledge and enthusing the public about why birds were brilliant.  In 2018, Chris Tynan received the RSPB Presidents Award. The President’s award is given to 5 volunteers every year to highlight outstanding volunteering. Chris says birdwatching and carrying on with our group’s leadership is what keeps him going, but warns someday we’ll need a replacement, yikes.

Cake ate or secreted away…Our meeting concluded with a talk from Chris about his favourite 50. His first recollected interest being inspired by blue tits, who were famed for sipping the cream out of the tops of delivered milk bottles! He told of magic moments at home, of adventures abroad and exotic locations, favourites from garden, woodland or sea, of agonising dipped birds. All had a memory attached, the bird or even the circumstances in which it was found.  I could list the birds, but that would be a spoiler for those who missed the talk, but might like to hear it in the future… from the Mersey Oystercatchers to the New Zealand little Blue Penguins, his list was an education in itself.