Helping Young Birders
SOC is in the privileged position of having a membership composed of skilled ornithologists, scientists, educators and creatives, working within a wide range of industries and fields. In recent years particularly, the Club has sought to explore ways in which this wealth of knowledge and expertise can be passed on to ensure that there will be a future generation of naturalists recording, conserving and speaking up for our country’s birds.
Much of the Club’s development work centres around supporting, encouraging and developing young naturalists which SOC aims to do via a variety of ways.
SOC/BTO Scotland Youth Events Programme
The SOC and BTO Scotland hold a series of free, monthly online events for young people in Scotland under 30. Delivered on Zoom, attendees can enjoy a diverse programme of interactive online workshops and talks from some of Scotland and beyond's top ornithologists, naturalists and creatives. The Club and BTO Scotland have worked collaboratively for many years and the Youth Events Programme is the latest in a wider portfolio of work to engage and inspire the next generation of birdwatchers, recorders and conservationists.
Discounted Conference Places at our Annual and joint Spring Conference
The Club recognises the networking potential and opportunities for furthering one's knowledge attending conferences presents, and thus heavily subsidises the registration fee for students and recent graduates up to the age of 30 at SOC’s Annual Conference. The Spring Conference (the Scottish Birdwatchers’ Conference) which takes places in collaboration with BTO Scotland each March, also offers discounted places to students and recent graduates up to the age of 30. Details of each conference will be posted on our Events page, when available.
Young Birders' Training Course (YBTC)
Launched in 2014, the Young Birders' Training Course is only opportunity of its kind in the UK. A joint venture between SOC and Isle of May Bird Observatory the course provides an opportunity for six young birders, aged 16-25 years to spend a week on the Isle of May gaining experience to help them progress with future involvement in wildlife recording and conservation. Click here to read the 2018 group's blog about their time on the May!
The course presents a unique opportunity for budding ornithologists, both in its setting and teaching options. Participants gain a thorough introduction to daily recording of birds and other taxa, species monitoring, hands-on experience of bird ringing, and activities such as visible migration watches and co-ordinated seawatching counts. Outwith the scope of most university curricula, these skills are essential attributes for those embarking on a career or role in wildlife recording, surveying and conservation. Read about the impact the course has had on participants here.
Discounted Student Membership
Students and juniors can take out membership to the Club for just £14 annually, with access to all of the benefits membership offers including four issues of the SOC’s quarterly journal, Scottish Birds annually, access to a programme of talks and outings across Scotland, the opportunity to borrow books from the Library, alongside a number of other benefits.