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Oddie joins observatory appeal

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14 August, 2008

RENOWNED naturalist Bill Oddie yesterday (Wednesday) put his weight behind a £1.5 million appeal to help fund a new bird observatory on Fair Isle.

The observatory on the remote Scottish island between Orkney and Shetland is famous with ornithologists around the world, mainly because of its rare bird migrants and spectacular seabird colonies.

For 60 years it has attracted visitors to Fair Isle, which is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Now it has to be replaced with a new observatory to open in 2010.

The new building will be a modern, eco-friendly place for people to stay and will cost £4 million, over a quarter of which has already been pledged by Shetland Islands Council.

Other public funds are being sought, but the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust needs to raise £1.5 million through individual donations.

Mr Oddie said: "Fair Isle is one of my favourite birding locations. I first went as a schoolboy, a visit to my ornithological Mecca - I've been back many times and seen some cracking rare birds.

"I encourage everyone to donate generously and help build the new observatory - and I hope to be one of its first birding visitors."

Roy Dennis, chairman of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust, added: "This is a very great challenge for us. Sixty years of birding tourism, migration studies and seabird research under our belt and now we plan for an important and exciting future.

"Please donate what you can and help us achieve our goal to open our brand new Fair Isle Bird Observatory in 2010."

The latest seabird research from the observatory confirms that many birds are suffering another disastrous breeding season. Scientists are trying to assess the impact and growing threat from climate change.

A spokeswoman for the NTS said that there had never been a more important time to support the role of the observatory.

Donations can be made via the bird observatory's website at: www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk

Most recent update - Thursday, 25 September 2008 22:31
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