Carlisle Museum's Natural History Record Bureau, Britain's first local environmental records centre, collected and collated records, mainly of birds but including also mammals and fishes, from amateur naturalists. It initially covered an area of 80 kilometres around Carlisle, and later from Cumberland, Westmorland and the detached portion of Lancashire north of Morecambe Bay: in effect the modern-day county of Cumbria. At the end of each year, those records which had been accepted were logged in a special “Record Book”, and a summary published. For the first eight years of its ten-year existence (1902–1912), these were printed in the local newspaper, The Carlisle Journal, but from 1908 they also appeared in The Zoologist. Alongside the Record Bureau, the Museum undertook a number of other activities, including a short-lived attempt to establish a bird-ringing project, an investigation into the impact of black-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) on farming and fisheries interests (an early example of economic ornithology), the setting up of Kingmoor Nature Reserve and the protection of nesting peregrines (Falco peregrinus), buzzards (Buteo buteo) and ravens (Corvus corax). The effectiveness of the Natural History Record Bureau and the reasons for its demise are briefly discussed.
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