Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

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Welcome to the Fair Isle Bird Observatory and Guesthouse. We are proud of our long tradition of welcoming visitors to Fair Isle and of our continuous scientific research into seabirds and bird migration since 1948. The Observatory, built in 2010, offers 3-star accommodation for visitors to the island from April to October and houses a team of wardens, a Ranger (funded by SNH) and other staff. More ...

The Observatory with its garden of willows and Rosa bushes against the distinctive backdrop of Sheep Rock, 2015. © James Gentles

Latest sightings

During the spring and autumn migration seasons, birds are censused daily and news is disseminated as promptly as possible. Updates on birds and the Observatory are regularly posted on the Warden's diary, Facebook and Twitter and on our Latest Sightings page. More ...

White's Thrush
Fair Isle is, quite simply, one of the most exciting places to observe migrant birds whether common or rare, such as this White's Thrush from September 2013. © Steve Arlow


Visitors come to Fair Isle for diverse reasons - birdings, walking, photography, archaeology, history, genealogy to name but a few. Many come back time after time. Best known for its bird migration studies and vagrant species from all points of the compass, the Observatory also offers the assistance of a resident Ranger to help you make the most of your visit. More ...

Long-eared Owl
Ringing birds (such as this autumn Long-eared Owl) has been a key tool in the Observatory's study of bird migration since its inception in 1948. In the event of some of the birds being recovered, vital information on migration routes, wintering/breeding areas and survival rates can be obtained. Trapping birds also provides an opportunity to examine the birds close-up and, in most species, provide additional information on the bird's age, sex and health. Visitors are welcome to watch, or, with the necessary permits and experience, assist the staff. © FIBO