Birdwatching in Orkney

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  • Close up shot of Arctic Terns in North Ronaldsay
    Arctic Terns, North Ronaldsay
  • Looking across the cliffs to the Kitchener Memorial at the Marwick Head RSPB Reserve, Orkney
    Marwick Head RSPB Reserve
  • Two puffins standing on a rock at Papay, Orkney
    Puffins
  • Birdwatching at Yesnaby, West Mainland
    Birdwatching at Yesnaby, West Mainland

Birdwatching in Orkney offers innumerable opportunities to spot some of Scotland’s most important and interesting species.

From hides and trails of Orkney’s many reserves to the deck of a chartered wildlife operator, spot the many migratory and seabirds that settle in the Orkney archipelago. Although birdwatching can be enjoyed throughout the year, April to July is one of the best times to experience it. The sandstone ledges of the sea-cliff reserves are colonised in early summer by tens of thousands of bird species who settle on the islands to breed, such as fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills.

In autumn and winter Orkney becomes home to 50,000 waders who feed on the islands' shorelines while whooper swans and graylag geese graze in fields inland. Some even more rare migrants can appear almost anywhere during the spring and autumn months, including a sandhill crane and a red-eyed vireo, both from North America. North Ronaldsay, with its bird observatory, is a particular migrant hotspot and well a great place to spot birds at migration time.

The islands are also home to 13 RSPB reserves and 36 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, which include breeding areas for Arctic terns and skuas.

If you're a keen birder - visiting or local - why not post your sightings online at the Orkneybirding forum? This will help others birdwatchers and also add to our conservation knowledge.

Browse our list of providers to plan your birdwatching trip in Orkney today.

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32 results, currently showing 1 to 10
  1. Mill Dam Nature Reserve

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Shapinsay

    Welcome to Mill Dam Nature Reserve.

  2. Orkney Uncovered

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Kirkwall

    'Orkney Uncovered' is a unique tour company offering private tours of Orkney's Wartime Defences, Stone Age Sites, Bespoke Jewellery, Wildlife and Coastal Scenery Walks.

  3. Westraak Tours

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Westray

    Westraak Tours offer guided tours on the beautiful island of Westray.

  4. Dawn Star Boat Trips

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    Kirkwall

  5. Gradings

    Birsay

    Welcome to The Loons & Loch of Banks (Mainland) Nature Reserve.

  6. Explore Orkney

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Finstown

    Enjoy the wonders of holidays in Orkney with these all-inclusive structured day trips. Uncover fascinating tombs, learn about the Vikings and explore Neolithic sites.

  7. Gradings

    Kirkwall

    Take a tour of Orkney with a specialist qualified Orkney Guide - our members include archaeologists, farmers, folklorists, historians, marine biologists, storytellers, teachers and more. Whatever your interests we have a guide for you!

  8. Odin Tours of Orkney

    Type

    Tour Operators

    Gradings

    Stromness

    Welcome to Odin Tours of Orkney

  9. Tour Orkney

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Kirkwall

    Welcome to Tour Orkney

  10. Gradings

    Orkney

    Take the ‘Wilderness Walking - The Orkney Isles’ tour with Wilderness Scotland.

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