Ask an Expert RSPB logo

Shaun Edmond asked: Before the RSPB chose the avocet as its symbol, what went on its logo? 

This is a great question from Shaun and something that I'd never considered.  I've always known the avocet as the logo of the RSPB so needed to do a bit of digging to find out exactly what had preceded it.  Fortunately, we have an archive section in the Library here at the Lodge and it's a fascinating area for a spot of research.  So, the avocet was not adopted as the RSPB logo until 1970.  It had though, been approved by council as the image on the RSPB's new tie, in 1955: the first use of this symbol.  I wonder if anyone still has one of these 1955 ties.

 Prior to this, the first official symbol appeared in 1906 in Bird Notes and News - the forerunner to Birds magazine.  Here is a link to a 1934 version in Wikipedia  The words, "RESPITE AVES COELI" are Latin for "Look at the birds of the air" and is from Matthew 6:26,  At this time, 3 Hanover Square, London was home to the RSPB and had been since 1898.  In 1953 it became 25 Eccleston Square, still in London, and this remained the RSPB's HQ until 1961 when the offices moved to their present address, The Lodge, Sandy in Bedfordshire. 

Clearly the avocet was an excellent choice for the logo of the RSPB as it had a good sense of timing and bred at Minsmere in 1947 the year that this became an RSPB reserve!

Watch out for swifts