Williamson was born in Bury Lancashire. From 1941-1945 he served with the British occupation of the Faroe Islands in World War II, in 1944 marrying Esther Louise Rein of Tórshavn with whom he had a daughter Hervor and son Robin. From 1948-1957 he was Director of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory. Subsequently he became a Senior Research Officer with the British Trust for Ornithology and from 1958-1963 he was editor of the journal Bird Migration. From 1959-1963 he served on the British Birds Rarities Committee.
As well as numerous ornithological papers, books authored or coauthored by Williamson include:
- 1937 – The Sky’s Their Highway. Putnam: London. (Illustrated by Charles Tunnicliffe)
- 1948 – The Atlantic Islands. A Study of the Faeroe Life and Scene. Collins: London.
- 1960 – St Kilda Summer. Hutchinson: London. (With J. Morton Boyd).
- 1963 – A Mosaic of Islands. Oliver & Boyd: London. (With J. Morton Boyd).
- 1965 – Fair Isle and its Birds. Oliver & Boyd: London.
- Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1783-2002. Biographical Index, Part 2.
- Williamson, Kenneth; & Boyd, J. Morton. (1960). St Kilda Summer. Hutchinson: London.
- Williamson, Kenneth. (1970). The Atlantic Islands. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London. (2nd edition). ISBN 0-7100-6911-1
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