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

In March 2020 the BTO launched their Chaffinch Appeal to raise funds to help them research why the UK population of Chaffinch is undergoing a significant decline. Read more ...

My Birding Patch - Alnmouth - the Northumberland coast in microcosm with Tom Cadwallender 

Having moved to the Alnmouth area in 1989 Tom has walked his patch for over 30 years.  During this talk we will look at the familiar, the scarce and sometimes the rare species of birds through the lens of diverse habitats and the seasons. Then a brief excursion to Coquet Island where we will look at some of the breeding seabirds including the Roseate Tern, a species which Tom has been studying and helping to conserve since 1991.  One thing is for sure the wonderful landscape and seascape of the Alnmouth area will feature quite heavily in this presentation. Read more ...

Depending upon Covid-19 restrictions nearer the time this year's count may have to be posponed until restrictions have been lifted.  Please note further guidance will appear here and in the Newsletters nearer the time.

The Long Day Count is carried out by teams of observers in each of the twelve 10km squares recording the number of bird species seen during a maximum of 12 daylight hours on the second Sunday in May each year. Read more ...

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