All eyes on Scottish Birdfair


The third annual Scottish Birdfair will open its doors on 10th May, bringing thousands of birders to stately Hopetoun House, near Edinburgh. Not only will there be multiple events for all the family, along with optics, books, food and holidays galore, but funds raised from the event will help save the declining Kittiwake.

'Scotland's big nature festival' is a two-day fair organised by RSPB Scotland and takes place over the weekend of 10th–11th May. The British Trust for Ornithology and Scottish Ornithological Club are also closely involved with the event, and Birdwatch and BirdGuides are proud to be among the sponsors of what the Scottish Event Awards voted 'Best Small Festival' last year.

Hopetoun House (Photo: Renaud Camus/Wiki Commons).

The festival not only appeals to dedicated birders but also to families with a passing interest in the natural world. There will be around 120 exhibitors, and among the stands will be artisan foods to eat, while visitors can get fully involved with their food sampling by attending cookery demos. There will be a wide array of talks from expert birders, naturalists and conservationists, and interactive workshops, including the ever-popular ringing demonstrations.

Adults can enjoy live music, walks, talks, bee-keeping, learning bush craft, testing the latest optics and outdoor gear, a farmers' market with fresh local produce, workshops, travel and tour advice, wildlife art and book signings, and can also get to grips with real ales and whisky tasting. Lovers of maritime wildlife can join a seabird cruise on the Firth of Forth on the Saturday evening for the chance to see seabirds, seals and dolphins. For children there will be activities such as storytelling, face painting, building a bug house, pond dipping and woodland walks with expert guides, along with puppet shows, games, wildlife photography and bush craft workshops, including willow weaving.

Children at the Scottish Birdfair (Photo: Ken Jack agencies).

Visit the Birdwatch stand in the Moorland Marquee to get exclusive deals on subscriptions to the best magazine for keen birders, choosing between identification DVDs to British and European birds (worth £44.90) or Martin Garner's Frontiers in Birding (worth £20), and you can save 18 per cent on the shop price. Subscriptions start at just £9.99, and you can pick up our latest issue on the day for just £2. We're also offering online subscriptions to BirdGuides.com, the best British bird news service with all the latest rarity sightings, starting at just £40 per year.

Scottish Birdfair selects an endangered bird species every year to be the Bird of Focus for the event, and this year that bird is Kittiwake. There will be special talks and activities about the species, and funds will be raised to support the RSPB's ongoing research into the causes of the species' falling numbers and plans to conserve it, along with the rest of our seabirds, which are also suffering from declines.

The Scottish Birdfair begins at 9.30am on Saturday 10th May, closing that evening at 7pm, while Sunday's programme starts at 9.30am and finishes at 5.30pm. There will be a free shuttle bus between Linlithgow and Dalmeny railway stations and the venue, and there is plenty of car parking space. Tickets are £12 for adults (concessions £10) and £20 for a two-day ticket (concessions £18), while children under 16 enter free. Weekend tickets are £20, and all can be ordered at bit.ly/bw263scotfair.

Written by: BirdGuides/Birdwatch