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

Bookings Update

Only 2 opportunities left for staying at the obs in 2014 
All weeks until the end of the season have at least some occupancy which is great news for monitoring bird migration throughout the peak autumn season but if you are keen to stay there are 2 opportunities where there may be some spaces available

To enquire please contact the bookings secretary: Mark Newell ( or for further details see the How to Visit page

Opening of the upgraded Bird Observatory facilities

Following a long winter of building work including many volunteer hours of effort, the Bird Observatory redevelopment was officially opened by Ian Ross, the Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage, on Saturday 5th July 2014.  Over 60 invitees were welcomed with a drinks reception and time to inspect both the renovations and extension to the building and explore the isle.  Photos can be found on the latest sightings page

Thank you to everyone who donated funds, materials or time and  particularly to the many funding bodies who gave major grants to the project    

IOM Bird Obs Annual Report

The 2012 report 
is now available - complete with CD - Trust members receive it automatically while copies are available for non members at £8.50 (including p&p) from : 
S. Rivers, Flat 8 (2F2), 10 Waverley Pk, Edinburgh EH8 8EU or by e-mail 

Alan Lauder,
Mar 5, 2014, 8:49 AM
Alan Lauder,
Feb 2, 2011, 6:19 AM
Alan Lauder,
Mar 2, 2014, 2:01 PM