Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory

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Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory is a bird observatory on Bardsey Island, off the Welsh coast.

It was founded in 1953 by a group of ornithologists from the West Midland Bird Club (still represented on the observatory's management committee[1]), the West Wales Field Society, and local people. The West Midlands Bird club not only saw a possibility for a new bird observatory, but an opportunity for studying the complex ecology of a small island.

BBFO is one of two fully accredited observatory in Wales and is 1 of 19 accredited bird observatories around the coast of the UK and Ireland (see the Bird Observatories Council).

Accommodation is available at the Observatory which is open to everyone, whether you have an interest in wildlife or not.

Bardsey Island or Ynys Enlli is of great conservation importance and carries the following list of national and international designations: National Nature Reserve [NNR], Site of Special Scientific Interest [SSSI], Special Protection Area [SPA], Environmentally Sensitive Area [ESA], Llyn Peninsula Heritage Coast, Llyn Peninsula Special Area of Conservation [SAC], Area of Outstanding National Beauty.

Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory is a registered charity.

The main objective is to monitor and census the breeding and migratory birds which use the island. Observatory staff undertake a daily census, to which visitors are encouraged to contribute, with a log of the day's sightings taken each evening. Spring and summer are particularly intensive times when the populations of breeding landbirds and seabirds have to be counted.

Breeding birds and migrants are trapped for ringing as part of the National scheme run by the British Trust for Ornithology. The ringing of the breeding seabirds is particularly important as it gives us much more information on how the birds are doing. For instance, we recently had a Manx Shearwater that was 52 years old!

The work of the Observatory is published in an Annual Report, which can be purchased from the Observatory or is free if you become a member of the Observatory. Through more than 50 years of work the Observatory has been able to monitor changes in populations and track shifts in the timing of migration of some of the species of birds passing through the island.

Although our emphasis is ornithological, we also welcome marine biologists, entomologists, geologists and mammalogists to contribute to our research and scientific recording. We welcome Whale and Dolphin Conservation annually to monitor cetaceans in the waters around Bardsey. You can read the blog about their stay here. In 2013 there was much excitement on the island as a pod of Orcas was spotted swimming past the island.

Every morning the moth trap is inspected and moth numbers recorded. New species are still being added on a regular basis, with Elephant Hawk Moth being a recent addition!

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  1. ^ "West Midland Bird Club: Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory". West Midland Bird Club. 2008-05-27. Archived from the original on 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 

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