A Brief History of the Banbury Ornithological Society

The BOS was formed in 1952, with the aim of encouraging and co-ordinating the scientific study of birds in the Banbury area and to strive to ensure the welfare of birds within a framework of economic necessity.

It was founded by six people who met as a result of a short series of six lectures on ornithology given by the late Dr Bruce Campbell in Banbury in 1951. Dr Campbell was our President until his death in 1993.

Glyn Davies was one of the founding members who was largely responsible for establishing the basic scientific approach to the Society.  When he died, in May 1991, he was generous enough to leave the Society the residue of his estate, which has enabled us to have our own headquarters and extend our participation in conservation work.

Initially the area covered by the BOS was a 9-mile radius around Banbury, later extended to a 12-mile radius in the county of Oxfordshire and finally, on 1 January 1965, extended again to cover the  twelve 10km squares of the Ordinance Survey National Grid, with Banbury at their centre

Fieldwork has always been strongly supported in the BOS and we have had our records fully computerised since 1982.  As a result we maintain, for instance, one of the longest running winter farmland surveys anywhere in the country.  The Society currently holds over 250,000 records and is frequently consulted by planning and conservation bodies for both research and advice.


The objectives of the Banbury Ornithological Society are:

  • to encourage and co-ordinate the scientific study of birds in the BOS;
  • to strive to ensure the welfare of birds;  and
  • to provide evidence for their conservation.


The Society has charitable status and as such has these futher objectives:

  • to advance public education about all aspects of ornithological life;
  • to promote research into such aspects and publish the useful results thereof for the benefit of the public;
  • to promote the conservation of ornithological life.


Day-to-day affairs of the Society are controlled by a Management Committee of voluntary officers who are elected annually. The assets of the Society are vested in Trustees who also have the duty of ensuring that the ethos of the Society, as encapsulated by its Charitable Objects, are followed. They are also responsible for reporting to the Charity Commissioners as required. Our trustees are:

  • Roger Stein
  • Mike Lewis
  • Doreen Knight
  • Nick Carter


Blackcap © Derek Hales Green Woodpecker at Balscote © Derek Hales Sedge Warbler at Bicester Wetlands © Richard Dunn Shoveler © Trevor Easterbrook

This new paper, published on World Curlew Day on 21 April 2022, describes the current and historical status of the Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata in an area of 1200 square kilometres centred on Banbury.   Click here to link to the paper Read more ...

Our visit will be to the Society's Neal Trust Reserve - led by Phil Douthwaite, the volunteer Reserve Warden.


Access is from the Fosse Way (the B4455) at SP2950 to  Oxhouse Farm, Combrook, Warwickshire.  Please car share where possible to save on parking spaces, which are limited.   Read more ...

A survey where observers are each given a randomly selected 1km square and record all the species encountered and numbers of each for a minimum period of 2 hours between 9am and noon. Read more ...

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