From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine

Shock as Fair Isle Bird Observatory destroyed by fire

The building completely collapsed due to the damage, but no one was injured.

Fair Isle Bird Observatory. © Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/UIG/Getty
Published: March 11, 2019 at 3:03 pm
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The world famous Fair Isle Bird Observatory has been destroyed by a fire, which initially began in the roof and resulted in the collapse of the building.


The fire was reported in the late morning on Sunday 10 March, and was attended by firefighters from the island and from the Shetland mainland. The firefighters were still at the scene on Monday.

As it was during the winter season, the Observatory was closed to guests. The warden David Parnaby and his family, who lived in the flat adjoining the lodge, were not injured.

The building was opened in 2010 following a £4 million investment.

The Observatory was originally established in 1948 to study seabirds and bird migration, and is now an important contributor to the economy of the island. It is run by an independent charity.

Roy Dennis, President of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust, told Bird Guides, "Absolutely tragic news – our famous Fair Isle Bird Observatory has been lost to fire. Thank goodness no loss of life but heartfelt sympathy to David, Susannah and family and the islanders. We will rebuild. We have lost much and will lose a year. Close to my heart – very, very sad."


The island is owned by the National Trust for Scotland, which says it “is ready and willing to help in any way we can.”


Megan ShersbyEditorial and digital co-ordinator at BBC Wildlife Magazine, and

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