Young Bird Observatory Visitors programme

Bardsey Bird Observatory by Steve Stansfield.

Each year the BTO provide a number of grants of up to £250, to support young people looking to visit one of the accredited British and Irish Bird Observatories.

The grant is open to applicants aged 24 and under who are currently in full-time education or unemployed, who are able to get fully involved in fieldwork and general observatory activities.

To apply you will need to provide:

  • A written application consisting of:
    • Your name, occupation and age at time of visiting
    • The postcode from which you'll be travelling to the Observatory
    • An outline of the itinerary, including dates you will be at the Observatory
    • An outline of anticipated costs (travel and accommodation only)
    • An idea of the skills you hope to develop whilst at the Observatory
    • An explanation of how you think this experience will impact your career or studies
  • A reference from one of the following:
    • A BTO member or volunteer, or ringing trainer
    • Previous or current teacher
    • Previous or current employer
  • If you are under 18, the written consent of a parent or guardian will be required -

Further details can be obtained by emailing youth [at]

You will need to have reserved a place at an Observatory (subject to the approval of the grant) for a visit of at least 4 nights during the current year. Confirmation will be needed as to whether the Observatory can host you as a visitor. 

Please note that it is your responsibility to confirm with the Observatory what work you will be doing; we recommend having a clear conversation with them about your expectations for your visit, and what they would like you to get involved with on-site. 

Applications are considered by a committee comprising a representative from the Bird Observatories Council, two members of staff appointed by the BTO and an independent monitor. Funding for these grants is provided by a generous donation, matched by BTO funds.

If you would like to support young birders please email us at fundraising [at]

BTO is proud to support young people visiting Bird Observatories, but please note that we are a grant-making body and do not manage the visits or internships at Bird Observatories. BTO and the sponsor reserve the right to ask for proof of confirmation of the applicant's stay at an Observatory. To find out more about their work, and to apply, visit the BOC website.

Our second round of applications for 2024 will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 12 May. You can still apply if you will have completed your time at the Bird Observatory, as we can reimburse you for costs already spent. To apply, fill in and submit the application form below. If you need financial support to pay for your stay before the deadline has passed, please let us know in your application as we may be able to help. The next rounds will be in May and August.

If you are under 18, we need to contact your parent(s)/carer(s) to confirm their consent.
Please state the Bird Observatory that you have organised to visit, including the region where it is located.
Your stay at your chosen Observatory must already be confirmed.
(150 words max)
Please break these down in as much detail as you can.
(150 words max)
If yes, please state where and when you expect to hear back.
Please take the time to fill in our equality monitoring form if you are happy to do so.
Please include details of a BTO member, ringer, a current or previous employer, or a current or previous teacher. Include their name, contact details, and how they know you, as well as their relationship to BTO if they have volunteered or work with us.

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