The Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP) was set up in 1973, born out of a need for a more organised and systematic way of recording rare breeding birds. In this article, the authors explore some of the findings over the past 50 years and discuss the RBBP’s contribution to the conservation of the UK’s rarest nesting bird species.
Most naturalists are fascinated by rare species. By definition, these are not encountered often by the majority of observers, and the thrill of finding and learning more about them is a strong driving force in natural history. To many, ‘rare’ birds means vagrants on windswept headlands, contributing to the British bird list which currently stands at 628 species (BOU 2022).