London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London

About LNHS

London's biodiversity faces new challenges from climate change and development pressure. You can contribute to the conservation of wildlife in the London area by helping to record the changing fortunes of the many species that live here. Together with our historic records, this information will help us to tackle the conservation issues of the future.

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 The London Natural History Society comprises of a number active sections focusing on specific taxonomic groups or wildlife sites.

Through our many field meetings and indoor meetings we provide opportunities for our members to develop and extend their their knowledge of London's diverse bird life. These include plenty of events that are suitable for beginners.

For many years we have been collecting and publishing a significant body of information, records and scientific papers about London's birds in our annual London Bird Report.

Bird Recorders

A full list of the LNHS bird recorders for different geographic areas can be found on the Who We Are page and contact details can be found on the Contact Us page.

Blue Tit SQUARESince the beginning of the 20th century, 360 species of birds have been recorded across the London Natural History Society recording area.

London is surprisingly good for bird life due to a rich variety of habitats which include woodland, grassland, farmland, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, estuaries and mudflats. It also has over a hundred nature reserves and open spaces, ranging from tiny local nature reserves to large expanses such as Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, and world-class man-made nature reserves such as the London Wetland Centre.

London is also home to a high density of expert birdwatchers who are quick to find special birds and disseminate the news on social media.

The intense gaze of watchers, combined with good management of spaces for nature, results in London recording around 200 species a year. This includes residents, summer visitors, birds on spring and autumn passage, and the occasional vagrant.

Almost every regularly-occurring bird family in the British isles is recorded in London, from the ocean-going skuas to the canopy loving leaf warblers. This makes London a good place for birdwatchers to hone their craft. The London Bird Club’s activities range from the recording of birds to guided nature walks suitable for beginners.

What does the London Bird Club section cover?

Dunlin c Kabir KaulIn a nutshell, the LBC covers the recording of all birds across the LNHS recording area. The geographical area that we cover is divided into seven bird recording areas (Inner London rectangle plus 'vice counties' - the boundaries of the vice counties are more or less based on the original county boundaries):

  • Inner London

  • Buckinghamshire

  • Essex

  • Hertfordshire

  • Kent

  • Middlesex

  • Surrey

In addition to general recording, the LNHS is also actively involved in undertaking Breeding Bird Surveys across London on behalf of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

For more information about recording birds and submitting records, check out our Recording Birds page.

London Bird Club section events

London Bird Club SQUARE
LBC events are open to all, including both LNHS members and non-members. Click here for the LNHS event programme.

Birdwatching Walks are field meetings that are a brilliant way to get outdoors in the company of like-minded wildlife enthusiasts and to discover some of London’s great locations for wildlife. The walks are led by leaders who are often interested in not just the birds but the other popular groups such as butterflies, dragonflies and plants as well.

The walks are also a good way for upskilling and developing naturalist skills for people who want to develop careers in research and conservation. They are open to both LNHS members and non-members alike - all are welcome!

London Bird Club Talks are 'indoor meetings' that cover a wide variety of topics, including bird identification, historical reviews of sites, and reports of foreign trips.

They include the section AGM, talks held at Burgh House (Hampstead) and joint talks with the Marylebone Birdwatching Society (held at Gospel Oak Methodist Church).


How to get involved

House Sparrows SQUARE
Aside from attending our events, there are a number of ways that you get involved with the London Bird Club…

Bird Recording is at the core of the LBC and our Society Recorders are always happy to receive records of your species observations within the LNHS Recording Area.

  • Check out our recorder resources and how to submit your bird records on our Recording Birds page.

We also organise an Ornithological Reading Circle that circulates a series of magazines to members at reduced subscriptions.

Social media is a great way of communicating with the London Bird Club and keeping up with the latest London Bird Club news:

Joining one of the London Bird Club committees is a great way to put your existing skills to good use or even develop new ones. Each committee member has a specific role and we are always on the lookout for more helpers with organising events, managing social media and producing content for the London Bird Report.

London Bird Club section projects

The London Bird Club section also undertakes projects related to the natural history of London, such as distribution atlases to assess the state of a given species group.

Publication London Bird ReportsThe London Bird Report is an annual, ornithological publication that has been published by the LNHS since 1937. It counts amongst its editorial team some of the best-known names in London and the home counties as well as people who are personalities on the wider British scene. The authoritative publication brings together the efforts of professional ornithologists and casual bird watchers to produce an annual distillation of bird records in the recording area of the London Natural History Society (a 20-mile radius of St Pauls Cathedral)Records of rare and unusual species in the London Area are considered by our Rarities Committee before being included in the London Bird Report.

The London bird records are being transformed from historic paper cards to an accessible digital dataset through our Historic Bird Record Digitisation Projects. Working with Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL), we have launched 2 projects to enable volunteers to help us bring these records into the 21st Century. The projects don't require any specific bird knowledge and involve transcribing the historic cards.

London Bird Atlas Cover
The London Bird Atlas was published in 2017, and builds on the work of two previous atlases produced by the Society (covering the periods 1968-72 & 1988-94). This latest atlas profiles 200 of the most common bird species found within London, from mute swans to house sparrows. Each entry is illustrated with colour photographs and a map showing distribution. The text also describes the capital’s varied habitats, including brownfield sites, woodland and wetlands, and contains a gazetteer of sites.