An independent, non-commercial site to collect and disseminate information on the natural history of Shetland

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Nature in Shetland

winner of a Shetland Environment Award 2004


Shetland Bird Club



The Birds of Shetland



Over £1400 in royalties shared between Shetland Bird Club and FIBO, so far.


3rd place, British Birds/BTO Bird Book of the Year Competition 2004

'Because of Shetland’s isolated geographical position in Europe, its avifauna is of special interest far beyond the local context. It is therefore pleasing to see a thorough and authoritative new work, compiled by a ‘dream team’ of Shetland bird experts. The accounts even for apparently mundane species such as Magpie and Bullfinch take on a special significance, giving new insights into the movements of birds across wide stretches of open sea. Though lacking distribution maps, the book is well written and presented. We especially liked the emphasis on people involved in Shetland ornithology, in Mike Pennington’s introductory chapter and throughout the species accounts.'


Shortlisted, Birdwatch Bird Book of the Year Competition 2004

'The tireless and sometimes thankless work of local recorders lay behind the best county avifauna we have seen for years, for one of the best birding regions in Britain. The authors' effort and vision in transforming such a great mass of data into this fascinating and readable account is quite staggering - Birds of Shetland has become the standard to which all subsequent books of this genre must aspire.'


Extracts from published reviews


'... probably the fullest account of Shetland birds that could possible be documented ... beautifully coherent and accessible ... as close to perfection as any authors have yet managed, and it sets a new benchmark for any county avifaunas that follow.'  Birdwatch


'... very thorough account of Shetland’s birds ... [a] truly impressive county avifauna.'  British Birds


' ... a model and example for any would-be author of a county avifauna, the best of its kind and it can be warmly recommended to a wider readership.'  Ibis


'... compiled by an expert team ... the detail and accuracy is all here.'  Birding World


'... one of the finest county avifaunas ever produced ... quite simply, this is one of the best and most important books on Scottish birds published to date.'  Birding Scotland


'This timely book brings together a wealth of knowledge into one carefully edited and organised volume ... an entirely authoritative account of the birds of Shetland.'  Scottish Bird News


'... detailed, thorough and authoritative ... highly recommended.' BTO News


'... hours of fascinating reading ... it deserves a place in every home. Simply buy it.'  Shetland Times


'... a massive review of Shetland's birds in this impressive book.'  Birds


' ... comprehensive and mouth watering ...  very interesting and easy to read ...'  Fatbirder website


'... a tome to treasure ...' The Scots Magazine


'C'est désormais la source de référence incontournable sur la oiseaux de la région [This is now the essential reference on the birds of the region].' Ornithos


The Birds of Shetland has been produced by a seven-strong team and unlike all previous publications, the book covers the whole of the county of Shetland, including Fair Isle.



A very rare photograph of the seven authors - left to right Mike Pennington, Pete Ellis, Dave Okill, Kevin Osborn, Paul Harvey, Roger Riddington and Martin Heubeck


Those of you with long memories may remember word of a book on the birds of Shetland being talked about for many years. It was actually 1955 when the last book appeared (the Venables’ Birds and Mammals of Shetland) and there have been three previous attempts to get an updated book off the ground: by Iain Robertson and Pete Kinnear in the 1970s, Paul Harvey, Martin Heubeck and Bobby Tulloch in the 1980s, and an early version of the current project, with a similar list of contributors, in the 1990s.


The Birds of Shetland is being produced independently but with data derived principally from the work of Shetland Bird Club and Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust. Royalties will be divided between these two organisations.


This site is not directly connected to any of the organisations mentioned, so comments  may not necessarily reflect the views of the organisations, clubs or societies  involved. The pages on this website remain the intellectual property of the authors. They may be freely downloaded, quoted or used for any purpose, providing acknowledgement is given to the website and/or the author/s. No liability is accepted for the accuracy of this information.