Our history

The Cambridge Bird Club promotes the study, recording and conservation of birds in Cambridgeshire and encourages a wider interest in natural history and the protection of county wildlife habitats.

The Club was founded in 1925 in memory of Professor Alfred Newton F.R.S. (1829–1907). Newton was the first Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at the University of Cambridge. He had much to do with the establishment of zoology as a scientific discipline. He bequeathed books of outstanding historical importance, especially for ornithology in 1907 to the Museum of Zoology – his library is an incredibly complete assemblage of ornithological literature up to the time of his death.

The founder members of the club were W H Thorpe, Bernard Tucker, L J Turtle, the Marquis Hachisuka and J D Clarke. Formed as a frustrated response to the blocking of a move to form different sections within the Cambridge Natural History Society, it was originally called the Cambridge Ornithological Club and membership was restricted to only 20 persons!

The first report was published in 1927, and in 1930 the name was changed to the Cambridge Bird Club. In 1951 with increasing numbers of non-University joining the Club, the position of Town Secretary was created to work alongside the University Secretary. This role gradually became the “senior” role as the balance changed with more “town than gown” members; then in 1996 the Undergraduate Secretary position ceased to exist and the Club was no longer affiliated to the University. In 2001 the name was further changed to the Cambridgeshire Bird Club to recognise the county-wide role of the club.

At the end of 2018, membership stood at 331 households (the actual numbers of individual members being higher than this).