Alderney Bird Observatory (ABO)

Lesser Black-backed Gull Ringing BurhouLesser Black-backed Gull Ringing Burhou

Creating Britain’s Newest and most Southerly Accredited Bird Observatory. Alderney is becoming established as one of the most exciting islands in Britain for seeing and monitoring birds in migration and for nesting seabirds.

What is the Alderney Bird Observatory (ABO)

The ABO was created as a sub-committee of the Alderney Wildlife Trust (Charity No CH261), with its own consitution, membership and Committee (see the link for the ABO Constitution Below).

What is a Bird Observatory?

It's a place which conducts long-term monitoring of bird populations and migration. Individual observatories are located at prime migration points around the British Isles and conduct within a defined recording area. The first observatory was established on the Welsh Island of Skokholm (1933) and since then the British network has become renowned worldwide for its network of observatories, the quality of their observations and the wildlife viewing opportunities they present.

An integral part of an observatory’s work is bird ringing, the capturing of birds by a licensed ‘ringer’, who acts as the observatory’s Warden, thus enabling the study of population dynamics across an international species (British Trust for Ornithology for information on ringing Observatories encourage volunteers to participate in scientific studies of birds and the environment, including ringing and more casual observations whilst out enjoying the areas they reside within. The results of these studies are made freely available to researchers and to the public who are welcome to then visit the observatories.

What benefits would a Bird Observatory bring to Alderney?

This is a project, born out of the ‘Living Islands’ initiative, which has already attracted regional media interest and expects to focus the national media on the island. It will also bring visiting scientists and it is believed a significant number of birdwatching enthusiasts form the UK and Continental Europe, as its reputation develops. As of Spring 2018 the ABO has become the only official Bird Observatory in the Channel Islands and a full accredited member of the British Bird Observatories Council.  The ABO's primary focus is the study of the role the Island play in European bird migration as well as focusing on its seabird colonies.

The Trust also envisions the facility will bring an economic boost to the fragile Alderney economy by sustainably exploiting a resource which to a large degree belongs to the island, and its residents, attracting visitors who would like to participate in the work of the Observatory or who simply want to visit an island which has this resource and reputation. Such visitors will stay in the island’s existing accommodation (mostly in the shoulder months when migration occurs) and over time there may also be the potential to establish a new ‘hostel’ class of accommodation. This would provide cheaper dormitory or shared room style accommodation for visiting groups, including universities and clubs.

The potential for reporting sightings of rare species of birds has been vastly increased through the coordination of the ABO’s full time Warden, and Assistant Warden.   Bird ringing too will be able to offer new insights and stories which have previously been hidden. For example a Water Rail caught and killed by a cat in November 2015 was ringed in the Czech Republic earlier that same year.

Educational Resource

The ABO is seen very much as a Channel Islands initiative. It is expected that environmental organisations and individuals from Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, as well as the host island of Alderney, will all participate in developing the Observatory. The Obsrvatory will be looking to establish formal ringer training courses and other accredited professional training as part of its educational work as well as supporting school groups.
The ultimate aims of the Observatory is to improve the biological records from Alderney, and to assist the next generation in developing and enjoying an awareness and understanding of our unique Channel Islands’ natural heritage.


For further information please contact us directly.

To see daily and monthly Aldeney Sightings go to Guernsey Birds.


To help us make the ABO a reality please donate here





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abo_constitution_final.pdf202.82 KB