The Isle of May Bird Observatory
Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation - Scottish Charity Number SC001783




The Isle of May Bird Observatory is Scotland’s oldest bird observatory, founded in 1934 The observatory is administered by a charitable trust (The Isle of May Bird Observatory and Field Station Trust) and manned by volunteer observers between March and November. The Observatory was founded by a group of young Scottish ornithologists and has continued to depend on the enthusiasm of amateurs who come to the island, usually for a week at a time, to maintain observations. The living accomodation is housed within the Low Light (pic on left), a former navigational lighthouse
The Island lies 5 miles off the Fife coast in eastern Scotland. It is a National Nature Reserve owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage and is internationally important for its populations of breeding seabirds particularly Puffins Fratercula arctica and is well placed to monitor migration of passerines and other birds in spring and autumn, often attracting large numbers of passerines in the right conditions. 

The island is a major landmark from many coastal locations in eastern Scotland sitting low in the water at the mouth of the Firth of Forth. It is best seen from the Fife coast where it dominates the seascapes from the fishing villages of the East Neuk; Crail, Anstruther and Pittenweem 

Explore this website further to learn more about the observatory, the island and its birds

2013 Annual Report


Isle of May Bird Observatory Annual Report 2013 - a 64-page printed "core" report plus a CD with a 125-page "full" report containing additional information plus 118 further pages of ringing data, articles and photos relating to the Observatory in 2013 (see below)

£8.50 (inc p&p) - cheques payable to "Isle of May Bird Observatory Trust".

Available from:

Stuart L. Rivers, Flat 8 (2F2), 10 Waverley Park, Edinburgh, EH8 8EU

2016 Bookings

If you want to stay in 2016 you had better be quick. The only weeks remaining with space are in April and one week in August. Go to the How to Visit page for information on how to book.

A week on the isle in four minutes

Recent Bird Obs visitor Franck Latraube has turned his images into four minute video.  It should come with a strobe effect warning but if you fancy taking a look it can be found here:

A thank you from the SNH team

Visit the SNH Isle of May blog for a lovely article saying farewell to us for another season - see if you appear in a selection of pictures of some of the many visitors who have stayed at the obs this year