One of the SOC's greatest contributions to Scottish ornithology is the documentation of bird numbers and the maintenance of the Local Recorders' Network. The library at Waterston House is home to the most complete collection of Scottish local and regional annual bird reports held in Scotland, and the library and secure archive contain an unrivalled collection of records accumulated by private individuals and organisations. This documentation of recording and monitoring forms the cornerstone of our knowledge of Scotland's birdlife. The SOC produced the most recent and authoritative account of Scotland’s birdlife with the publication of Birds of Scotland in 2007, and updates to our knowledge are published regularly in the club journal, Scottish Birds.

The Scottish Birds Records Committee, set up by the Club, also maintains the official Scottish List on behalf of the SOC. SBRC also publishes an annual update on rare and scarce birds seen in Scotland and produces papers on species/subspecies identification and changes in status in a Scottish context.

As a BirdTrack partner, we work with the British Trust for Ornithology, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and other national organisations in England, Wales and Ireland to promote the practice of keeping bird records and submitting them to support and further scientific research. The BirdTrack database contains around 70 million individual bird records and is a powerful tool for promoting bird protection and conservation.

The Club provides support to ornithological fieldwork in Scotland with grants for research and surveys. The Birds of Scotland Fund is used to support ornithological publications and special projects in Scotland.