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 CBSs
Mr C Cockerton Yorkshire Canary Club
Mr E R W Lincoln Editor, Cage Birds
Miss E W Kirby Secretary to Mr Lincoln
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
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,
B. To counter
anti-birdkeeping propaganda, no matter what its 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
CBSs 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:
Badges for affiliated club members (Bronze 15 years, Silver 20 years,
Gold 25 years);
The Roll of
Honour recognising the outstanding achievements of current
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:
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.
the Roll of Honour Award Scheme marking the achievements of living
the Hall of Fame Award Scheme which is awarded posthumously in
recognition of services to aviculture.
closely with DEFRA to relax the restriction for Channel Island
exhibitors to come over to mainland U.K. and show their birds.
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.
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.).
giving evidence and guidelines for the Parliamentary Select Committee on
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.
Public Liability Insurance to our Affiliated Societies to cover monthly
meetings and shows (not Sales Days).
Rosette Patronage to our Affiliated Societies.
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.
the Code of Conduct and Guidelines for Bird Keepers.