A Few Facts about the RSPB, its History, and its Achievements

RSPB logo

Pied Avocet feeding


The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so that our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We also play a leading role in a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

We exist to help our birds, wildlife and natural places survive and thrive. A country that's not home to skylarks and puffins, red squirrels and hedgehogs, is not a country any of us want to live in. We speak out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment such as urban expansion, intensive farming, pollution, non-native species, climate change and overfishing. Our work is focussed on the species and habitats that are in the greatest danger.

Founded in 1889, by a small group of ladies who were against the trade in birds' feathers for hats, the RSPB was granted its Royal Charter some 15 years later. The original aim was achieved in 1921 by the passing of the 'Importation of Plumage (Prohibition) Act'. 1928 brought the purchase of land for the RSPB's first nature reserve. In 1960 membership passed the 10,000 mark, 100,000 in 1972, and 500,000 in the centenary year of 1989. We are now Europe's largest conservation charity with over 1.1 million members.

Click for more about the history of the RSPB                    

In 2012, almost 13,000 RSPB volunteers donated over one million hours of their time. The RSPB includes a network of 150 local groups and more than 80 youth groups.

In the UK, the RSPB manages over 150,000 hectares at over 200 UK nature reserves, which are home to 80% of our rarest or most threatened bird species.

How does the RSPB help wildlife?

  • By standing up for nature to decision makers at local, regional, national and international levels.
  • By restoring, preserving and managing wildlife habitats
  • By working with farmers and estate owners
  • By research into wildlife's problems and finding practical solutions
  • By specific recovery projects for species at severe risk
  • By connecting children to nature.
  • By involving the public, through activities such as 'Big Garden Birdwatch'
  • By public campaigns such as 'Give Nature a Home' and 'Vote for Bob'

Logo of Birdlife International

The RSPB is the UK Partner of BirdLife International, a global partnership of national conservation organisations that work together in advocating and carrying out conservation actions. By playing a leading role in BirdLife International, the RSPB can help to secure the future of nature right across the world. Working within BirdLife is fundamental to the RSPB's international strategy and our contribution is important to the success of BirdLife.


The RSPB's biggest challenge is to do much more, on a broader scale. As revealed in the State of Nature report, wildlife is in serious decline. You can help by becoming a member of the RSPB.

You can either click on our How To Join page or alternatively, go direct to the RSPB website where there is a wealth of further information.

The RSPB, UK Headquarters, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire. SG19 2DL.


Page last modified 1-December-2016