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
"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: