Volunteers sought at Denmark's top bird observatory


Skagen Bird Observatory lies in the very north of Denmark, as part of the iconic Skagen Grey Lighthouse – Centre for Migratory Birds.

Situated in beautiful landscape close to Grenen, the northernmost point of Denmark, Skagen is a funnel for migrating birds as they pass through during spring and autumn. For years, birders have travelled from far and wide to experience the thrill of passage through the area – and this is something we'd like to share with you!

More than 365 species have been recorded in the area, which is the most renowned in Denmark for finding and observing rare birds. In spring 2018, for example, the area produced Denmark's first records of Yellow-browed Bunting and Little Swift. In spring, huge numbers of migrating raptors pass through the area, while seawatching can be just as spectacular in autumn. Both spring and autumn are fantastic for migrant passerines – and species that are frustratingly scarce in Britain can be pleasantly regular at the observatory.

A Golden Eagle migrating over Skagen among Common Buzzards.

We are now appealing for volunteers to come and join us at Skagen Bird Observatory this autumn. The work is varied, balanced between observations and ringing. We have three ringing sites, including one Constant Effort Site. The day-to-day work consists of many other jobs, including presentations, instructions, data processing, practical work and much more. We work in conjunction with universities on a variety of projects, including breeding bird surveys, tracking and sampling to monitoring avian disease.

As a volunteer, we offer you free accommodation in a new and modern observatory in one of Denmark's most iconic buildings – the lighthouse. The observatory values professionalism and solidarity, giving you the opportunity to develop your knowledge, skills and responsibility, but just as importantly share great experiences with like-minded staff and other volunteers.

We prioritise applicants who can stay for a whole season, but we also welcome shorter-term applications. There are plenty of opportunities in terms of stay, and we are very willing to teach newcomers – so please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are interested in joining the Skagen team this autumn, or would like further information, please email Simon S Christiansen, Head of Skagen Bird Observatory, at ssc@dof.dk.

The Skagen Bird Observatory website can be found at www.skagenfuglestation.dk and the Facebook page is www.facebook.com/Skagenfuglestation.

Find out more about the life of a volunteer at Skagen by reading Peter Denyer's diary of when he was at the observatory this spring. 

Skagen Bird Observatory is situated in one of Denmark's most iconic buildings, the Skagen Grey Lighthouse (Josh Jones).

Seawatching from the dunes in autumn.

Skagen is also a great place to hone your birding and ringing knowledge.