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Application for Club Affiliation & Public Liability Insurance Cover

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The Formation of the National Council for Aviculture

A number of Specialist Club delegates, representing all branches of the Fancy, met on Thursday March 8th 1945 at the Waldorf Hotel in London to discuss the formation of a National Association to foster the interests of the Cage Bird Fancy. Mr W Watmough, the famous budgerigar breeder and author of the seminal “Cult of the Budgerigar” took the Chair for this meeting, and Mr E R W Lincoln, Editor of Cage Birds, agreed to be Secretary, assisted by his secretary Miss E W Kirby.

Delegates attending the Inaurgural Meeting:

Mr W Watmough – Budgerigar Society
Mr J Hylton Blythe – British Bird Keepers Association
Mr A A Collier – South Midland BS
Mr P W Beauchamp – National British Softbill Society
Mr W Hinkins – Southern Border Fancy Canary Club
Mr W Dixon – Midland Counties Norwich Plainhead Club
Mr F Derry – Midland Yorkshire Canary Club
Mr W K Cox – Budgerigar Society
Mr G C Lynch – National British Hardbill Assocn.
Mr J Hamblett – West Midland Roller Canary Fanciers
Mr H Garland Wells – Southern Norwich Plainhead Club
Mr R Frayn – Foreign Bird League
Mr H G Golder – Cinnamon Canary Club
Mr W P Inggs – Western Yorkshire Canary Club
Mr W E Berry – Midland Budgerigar and Foreign Bird Assocn.
M W Trotter – Northern Ireland Clubs
Mr A Wilson – Scottish BS
Mr E Brown – Midland B & FBA
Mr W A Fitch – Midland B & FBA
Mr H Hill – Yorkshire Union of CBS’s
Mr C Cockerton – Yorkshire Canary Club
Mr E R W Lincoln – Editor, Cage Birds
Miss E W Kirby – Secretary to Mr Lincoln

Miss Kirby later recalled that during the morning session a flying bomb made a direct hit on Smithfield Market not far away from the hotel! It was agreed to form a National Society, and the name – National Society of Aviculture - was chosen from a short list by ballot of the delegates (this was changed to the National Council for Aviculture in the mid 1980’s).

The aims and targets of the newly formed Council were then discussed, and 6 areas were agreed:

A.  To keep under close scrutiny legislation and parliamentary proposals affecting, or likely to affect, bird-keepers interests.

B.  To counter anti-birdkeeping propaganda, no matter what it’s form.

C.  To secure nation-wide representation of birdkeepers interests.

D.  To accelerate the importation of seed into this country.

E.  To ensure the best possible support in Parliament and local government.

F.  To secure, by contacts and press notices, publicity favourable to the Birdkeeping hobby.

Of these, the importation of seed was the most immediately important because seed supplies had become extremely limited during the war, and many people had been compelled to give up the hobby through this shortage. Estimates of birdkeepers before the war was put at 560,000, and by the end of hostilities in Europe this had shrunk to about 140,000. Interestingly, some senior delegates from the meeting had pre-arranged a meeting on this subject later that day with the Minister of Food, and it was to their advantage to be able to say that they were a National body representing all birdkeepers! A relatively short time later another sub-committee was in discussion with the railway companies concerning the shipment of birds in show cages to and from shows, and their care in the hands of the railway

Naturally the meeting also had to decide what the subscription rates should be, and the proposal was accepted that CBS’s should affiliate at 10/6 (52p), and Specialist Societies at one guinea (£1.05). The first President elected was Mr Haddon (probably better known to readers from the Haddon Trophy for Best-in-Show at the old National Exhibition).

Over its 75-year life the NCA has had its ups and downs, but has stayed true to the principles and objectives of that first Council. It has tried to help birdkeepers wherever it can, and at one stage used to hold seminars at the old “National”, with both national and foreign speakers over the 3-day show. It would be difficult to do that with the current one-day event, but the dialogue with Government is just as necessary – and maybe even more important now – as it ever was. And the threats to Birdkeeping never entirely disappear.

At the AGM on 23rd April 2005, the NCA adopted its three-pronged Award Scheme:

  • Long-Service Badges for affiliated club members (Bronze 15 years, Silver 20 years, Gold 25 years);

  • The Roll of Honour recognising the outstanding achievements of current aviculturists;

  • The Hall of Fame commemorating the distinguished careers of past aviculturists.

In May 2006 the long-serving NCA Administrator, Brian Hughes retired and the NCA undertook a period of reorganisation which involved a merger with the former SPA including adoption of their publications (e.g. ‘Welcome To Bird Keeping’) and the production of a new Constitution based on the equal partnership of the four ‘parent bodies’ (British Bird Council, Budgerigar Society, Canary Council and Foreign Bird Federation). This was adopted at the AGM in April 2007 under the chairmanship of Sean Fitzpatrick.

Over 2007 and 2008, being mindful of the Animal Welfare Bill and later Act, a working party produced a ‘Code of Conduct for Bird Keepers’ whilst another worked with the English Implementation Group looking towards the implementation of secondary legislation to the Animal Welfare Act. Part of a new package of benefits to affiliated clubs in 2008 was the introduction of a Limited Liability Insurance Scheme which runs very successfully to the present day.


One can summarise some of the NCA achievements over the past few years as follows:

  • Establishing the three levels of awards for the Long Service Award Scheme for the Affiliated Societies – 15 years Bronze, 20 years Silver and 25 years Gold where NCA badges of that colour are awarded to the recipients.

  • Establishing the Roll of Honour Award Scheme marking the achievements of living aviculturists.

  • Establishing the Hall of Fame Award Scheme which is awarded posthumously in recognition of services to aviculture.

  • Worked closely with DEFRA to relax the restriction for Channel Island exhibitors to come over to mainland U.K. and show their birds.

  • Were instrumental in getting DEFRA to abandon the blanket ban on bird gatherings in favour of regional/area surveillance and control zones to allow shows to go ahead in areas with no avian flu.

  • Formulated the COM-UK in 2011 as a partner with the IOA to allow our members to take exhibits to the annual World Show run and staged by the Confederation Ornithologique Mondial (C.O.M.).

  • Assisted in giving evidence and guidelines for the Parliamentary Select Committee on companion animals.

  • The NCA are on the DEFRA Working Group to look at import/export restrictions post Brexit seeking to relax the quarantine regulations.

  • The NCA are also on the Sustainable User Network (SUN) working group.

  • We offer Public Liability Insurance to our Affiliated Societies to cover monthly meetings and shows (not Sales Days).

  • We offer Rosette Patronage to our Affiliated Societies.

  • We provide over £300 prize money each year for the National Exhibition as well as personnel to run the National Show.

  • We offer the Ring Scheme to our members.

  • Formulated the Code of Conduct and Guidelines for Bird Keepers.

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