Sea Birds Preservation Act 1869

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sea Birds Preservation Act 1869
Long titleAn Act for the Preservation of Sea Birds
Citation32 & 33 Vict. c. 17
Introduced byChristopher Sykes (MP)
Royal assent24 June 1869
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted

The Sea Birds Preservation Act 1869 (32 & 33 Vict. c. 17) was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It was the first Act to protect wild birds in that country.[1]


In 1868, Professor Alfred Newton addressed the British Association for the Advancement of Science on the "On the Zoological Aspect of the Game Laws".[1] In particular, he urged for protection of birds of prey and seabirds during the breeding season. The British Association appointed a committee to propose a close season. The committee consisted of Frank Buckland, Henry Eeles Dresser, William Bernhardt Tegetmeier and Henry Baker Tristram. James Edmund Harting was later co-opted onto the committee.

Newton's speech cited the destruction of seabirds on the Isle of Wight and Flamborough Head. Wide publicity of his speech led to public condemnation of the residents of Bridlington. Rev. Henry Frederick Barnes-Lawrence of Bridlington Priory held a meeting of local clergy and naturalists and formed the Association for the Protection of Sea-Birds. Barnes-Lawrence's Association had the support of Francis Orpen Morris, William Thomson, Archbishop of York, and local MP Christopher Sykes.

As with many animal welfare laws before 1900, the animals' safety was not the main reason for the act. Seabirds were useful to sailors to warn of land in bad weather. If a boat was in fog and the sailors could hear seabirds nearby then they would know that they were near land. If the population of seabirds declined then they would not have this early warning system.

The Act[edit]

The act was introduced by Christopher Sykes (MP), Mr Clay and Mr Ward Jackson on behalf of the Association for the Protection of Sea-Birds. It was designed to reduce the effects of shooting and egg collecting during the breeding season.[1] It gave limited protection to "the different species of auk, bonxie, Cornish chough, coulterneb, diver, eider duck, fulmar, gannet, grebe, guillemot, gull, kittiwake, loon, marrot, merganser, murre, oyster catcher, petrel, puffin, razor bill, scout, seamew, sea parrot, sea swallow, shearwater, shelldrake, skua, smew, solan goose, tarrock, tern, tystey, willock".[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Barclay-Smith (1959)
  2. ^ Sea Birds Preservation Act 1869, Section 1
  3. ^ Greenoak (1979)


External links[edit]