The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Passionate about nature, dedicated to saving it. Since we started on our mission in 1889, the threats to nature have continued to grow, but we`ve grown to meet them too. We’re now the largest nature conservation charity in the country, consistently delivering successful conservation, forging powerful new partnerships with other organisations and inspiring others to stand up and give nature the home it deserves. The RSPB has its UK headquarters at The Lodge, Bedfordshire, backed up by regional offices around the country. Our work stretches far beyond the UK. Wherever wildlife is in threat, we`ll work with partners across the globe to help save it and give it a home.

Company details

The Lodge, Potton Road , Sandy , Bedfordshire SG19 2DL United Kingdom

Locations Served

Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Environmental - Ecology and Nature Protection
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)

The RSPB was formed to counter the barbarous trade in plumes for women's hats, a fashion responsible for the destruction of many thousands of egrets, birds of paradise and other species whose plumes had become fashionable in the late Victorian era.

The organisation started life as the Society for the Protection of Birds (SPB), founded by Emily Williamson at her home in Manchester in 1889. The group quickly gained popularity and in 1891 it merged with the Fur, Fin and Feather Folk, to form a larger and stronger SPB, based in London.

In its earliest days, the society consisted entirely of women and membership cost twopence. The rules of the society were:

  • That members shall discourage the wanton destruction of birds and interest themselves generally in their protection 
  • That lady-members shall refrain from wearing the feathers of any bird not killed for purposes of food, the ostrich only excepted.

Some of the society's staunchest supporters were the very kind of people who might have been expected to wear the plumes – dignitaries such as the Duchess of Portland, who became the society's first president, and the Ranee of Sarawak.

A number of influential figures, including the leading ornithologist of the day, Professor Alfred Newton lent their support to the cause, which gained widespread publicity and popularity, leading to a rapid growth in the society's membership and a widening of its aims.

Indeed the fledgling society was so successful that it was granted its Royal Charter in 1904, just 15 years after being founded. Then in 1921, the Importation of Plumage (Prohibition) Act was passed, forbidding plumage from being imported to Britain.


Nature is in big trouble, but we've got big plans to save it.

From now until 2030, we'll be focusing on some ambitious plans and targets - working together with you and our partners to collectively change the fate of nature.

Homes for nature

Reserves are at the heart of what we do. They're vital to our conservation work and priceless spaces for everyone to get close to nature.

We believe they work best when they connect with wild spaces and habitats in the wider landscape. That's why we'll be working to make bigger, better, more joined up homes.

  • Thanks to your support, we own 55 per cent of the land we manage and 45 per cent is managed in partnership with others. We aim to dramatically increase the land we own and manage over the next 15 years - our ambition is to double our land-holding by 2030.
  • By 2025 we will have helped to improve the wildlife value of at least 10 per cent of the seas around the UK and its overseas territories.
  • By 2025 we want to ensure at least 20 per cent of UK land is well managed for nature, by ensuring no loss of protected areas and by offering inspiration and advice to improve the management of around 5,000 square kilometres owned by others.


Nature is in desperate trouble. Species numbers have declined dramatically in recent years and it's vital we work together to help their recovery.

We'll continue to focus on our priority list of species and help nurture their recovery, through a combination of research, partnerships, landscape-scale conservation and policy work.

  • We'll give urgent and intensive help to birds such as the curlew, turtle dove, hawfinch, willow tit and puffin which are suffering from a worryingly dramatic downturn in numbers.
  • Continue our conservation investment in 41 other birds, to help prevent them slipping back down in numbers.
  • Continue the development and progress of already successful reintroduction projects, such as the bittern, cirl bunting and corncrake. 
  • We're proud of our role in the State of Nature report, and together with the other 49 organisations involved, we will be a powerful partnership to react to the threats it identified. 
  • We are the UK partner of BirdLife international and together we will tackle the threats to our shared nature overseas.


Our work will continue to reach far beyond the UK, working with our partners to help protect habitats and save endangered birds and wildlife overseas.

We're part of BirdLife international, a network of passionate organisations, working together to save shared nature across the globe. We’re proud of our partnerships and their ongoing successes, and dedicated to continuing our work together protecting nature across borders. 

Here is a small selection of our international priorities:

  • Together with BirdLife International and others partners, we will continue our work on the Birds Without Borders programme, helping to conserve migrant birds on their journey between Europe and Africa.
  • The Albatross Task Force will continue it's successful work to protect albatrosses, killed in their tens of thousands every year by longline fishing.
  • We will tackle the threats to resting seabirds by invasive species on islands in the Atlantic and Pacific. 
  • We will focus our work on the UK oversea territories, recognising the UKs unique responsibility for the wildlife they support.


We’re proud to be involved in a wealth of successful partnerships, from our innovative collaborations with United Utilities and Cemex, to our work with Aldi delivering inspiring nature connections to children.

Some of our aims include:

  • Establishing inspiring and effective collaborations with industry to save nature, both reducing the impact of corporate activity on the natural world and working together to actively improve it.
  • Forming new partnerships to help develop and maintain farming that’s good for all of us, by helping farmers to find a home for nature, while continuing to produce the food we need.
  • Continuing our work as part of the 50 organisations responsible for the State of Nature report, to share and react to the urgent threats and focuses it highlighted.


There is a force which has been with us since the beginning. It’s a force that’s played a big role in the history of conservation and will have an even bigger one in its future – that force is you.

We want to celebrate our legacy and create a movement – to make nature, and its conservation, a fundamental part of everyone’s lives. We want to nurture a world where it’s part of everyone’s automatic thinking to let nature in and not shut it out. 

As part of this, we will continue our work to enable and empower everybody, to be able to connect to nature and become guardian to it. We’re all in this together - and together we have the power to collectively change the fate of nature, creating a new balance and rediscovering our place in the natural world again. 

  • We will continue to inspire young people all over the UK, and create new opportunities for them to discover and connect with nature.
  • By 2020 we aim to have delivered 2 million ‘connections to nature’ experiences for children via partnerships, schools outreach and reserves activity.
  • With fun accessible schemes such as Give Nature a Home and the Big Garden Birdwatch, we will continue to transform gardens across the country into mini nature reserves. Building a movement and weaving the UKs landscape into a tapestry of connected wild spaces.
  • We will continue to find new and creative opportunities to volunteer, campaign and support the RSPB and strive to grow in numbers and spirit, to meet the growing threats to nature.