“Early in 1936 a meeting was held in Edinburgh attended by Miss Baxter, Miss Rintoul, H F D Elder and George Waterston, where it was revealed that steps should be taken to found a national (bird) club”.
This is how Ian Pennie, describes the momentous decision 76 years ago to form the SOC, when many of the most eminent names in Scottish ornithology met together in the rooms of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in Edinburgh on 24 March 1936. Several of those involved, notably George Waterston, would go on to play a major role in the development of Scotland’s conservation policies. Alongside George at this initial meeting were the “good ladies”, Evelyn Baxter and Leonora Rintoul, with the original invitations to attend the inaugural meeting being sent out under the names of Baxter and Waterston. Both ladies served as joint Presidents until 1948 and Honorary Presidents thereafter.
The Club’s promotion of the systematic recording and study of birds was and has remained central to its ethos: its establishment of a network of local bird recorders and other bird recording schemes provided one of the bases upon which subsequent conservation activities developed and helped to provide the factual foundation to make those activities far more effective.