The Isles of Scilly Bird Group was formally founded in 2000, but organised birdwatching activities had been happening on Scilly since the 1950s, when St Agnes became an autumn birding hotspot. Scilly’s fame and reputation as a rare birding destination grew, in part thanks to the writings of naturalist Hilda Quick. The first bird reports, exclusively about birds on St Agnes, were published biannually from 1957, with the current annual format adopted in 1969 covering all of the Isles of Scilly. The 1970s saw the introduction of the nightly Bird Log in October, called by Mike Rogers, before moving to the Porthcressa Inn in the 1980s (called by David Hunt, Mike, our own Will Wagstaff and other volunteers). Now, the Bird Log is established in the Scillonian Club, and called by a variety of volunteers. We also work closely with Kathy and Mike Young-Powell, who organise the Bird Log call on St Agnes, in the Turk’s Head, throughout October.

As a charity, we now carry out local birdwatching and conservation activities across the archipelago.

What we do

The Isles of Scilly Bird Group champions birds, wildlife and birdwatching on the Isles of Scilly. We aim to inspire more people of all ages to enjoy our stunning wildlife and share their sightings and experiences, and to help local wildlife by carrying out targeted conservation work.

Every year we:

  • Produce the annual Isles of Scilly Bird and Natural History Review, a 272pp comprehensive yearly review of birds and other wildlife;
  • Manage wild areas for birds;
  • Maintain some birdwatching areas, including interpretation;
  • Work with landowners to open up autumn birding trails on otherwise private land;
  • Organise the popular annual Bird Log on St Mary’s every October (and work with the organisers of the annual St Agnes Bird Log)
  • Promote scientific data, research and photography of birds on the Isles of Scilly;
  • Reach out to schools and local communities through education;
  • Provide up-to-date information and sightings on our website and social media;
  • Communicate birding news with members and represent the birding community, including non-residents;
  • Work with partners to make the Isles of Scilly better for all wildlife;
  • Act as advocates for birds and wildlife.

Who we are

Will Wagstaff – Honorary President & Chairman
John Headon – ISBG Recorder
Alan Hannington – Secretary
Martin Goodey – Treasurer
Carole Cilia – Review Editor and Membership Secretary
Lucy McRobert – Promotions & Publicity Officer
Rob Lambert – Education Officer
Scott Reid – Conservation Officer

Find out who’s on the Scilly Rarities Committee here.

The Editorial Board for the Isles of Scilly Bird and Natural History Review is made up of Carole Cilia, Martin Goodey, Ren Hathway, John Headon and Will Wagstaff.

How we are funded

The Isles of Scilly Bird Group is a charity, registered number 1103454.

We are funded predominantly through our “Friends of the ISBG” membership, which is currently set at £15/annum, and we have approximately 370 members. We also benefit from legacies, gifts and donations. All of the committee are volunteers and give their time freely. All money raised goes directly back into achieving our charitable objectives, “local birdwatching and conservation activities”. Full details are available on the Charity Commission website.

We would like to thank everyone who supports the ISBG – we couldn’t do it without you!

Thank you!

We would like to thank the many partners who we work with, both on Scilly and those who visit, who make birding possible for us all.

Landowners & Tenants – The Duchy of Cornwall, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Peninnis Farm, Sunnyside Farm, Tremelethen Farm

Partners – The Duchy of Cornwall, Isles of Scilly Council, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Scilly Pelagics, St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association, the Scillonian Club

Callers of the Bird Log over the past few years – Steve Brayshaw, Paul Freestone, John Headon, Rob Lambert, Lucy McRobert, Ralph Parks, Hugh Pulsford, Scott Reid, Will Wagstaff, James Walsh

Choughs © Joe Pender