Alderney Bird Observatory Ltd. A Channel Islands registered company & Charity




Alderney Bird Observatory was launched in 2016.  It is the newest bird observatory in the British Isles and the most southerly.  Dedicated to a program of monitoring and researching bird migration never before attempted in Alderney. In February 2019 we were awarded full accreditation status by the British Bird Observatories Council, proudly becoming the British Isles 20th Bird observatory.

ABO gets off to a cracking start!

Although only starting operations in March 2016, the ABO received a visit from  the team from BBC’s Countryfile in late April. Matt Baker and the team were able to catch on film just what a spectacular place Alderney is for bird migration – in fact it surpassed all expectations with 3,500 birds ringed by the end of our first spring and over 13,000 by the end of the same year.

BBC Countryfile Matt Baker bird ringing with ABO Warden John Horton at the observatory

ABO Warden, John Horton explained how the ABO aimed to become the 20th accredited bird observatory and demonstrated to the film crew bird ringing and recording.  The crew was also introduced to Alderney’s spectacular display of migrant and resident moths thanks to the ABO’s light trap and the help of local lepidopterist David Wedd.

The  vision

Alderney Bird Observatory is the newest bird observatory in the British Isles.  Dedicated to a program of monitoring and researching bird migration across the island, we are fortunate to be situated on one of Europes major migration flyways. The HQ and field centre accommodation sleeping 10 guests are based at ‘The Nunnery’; the oldest standing building in the Channel Islands and the best preserved coastal Roman fort in the British Isles. The building is of huge historic importance so our plan is to sensitively develop the space into an accessible heritage site for visitors to enjoy and for the benefit of Alderney. Once all the necessary permissions had been granted and funds raised, the new field centre accommodation at the observatory was completed and the Nunnery’s role has changed once again. Four years on and The Nunnery has undergone full, and sensitive, restoration with a new roof and replacement of all the main utilities.

The Nunnery (pre-restoration) seen from across the adjoining Longis Nature Reserve

In the past it had been refurbished as an 18th century gun battery and then served as barracks, a hospital, married quarters and a farm. Next it was converted to Resistance Nest ‘Piratenschloss’ by the Germans so there remain a network of bunkers and machine gun posts (without guns!) in the Nunnery garden. Work will continue for many years to better understand the nearly 2,000 years of occupation at this site. As a part of the current guardianship of The nunnery, ABO proudly became a Channel Islands company and registered charity in 2019.  The States of Alderney continue to back the ABO project at the Nunnery recently pledging support into 2020!