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.

Join our mailing list

To be the first to hear about our upcoming events for young birders, please subscribe to our Youth Events mailing list using the button below. 


SOC/BTO Scotland Scottish Bird Camp

Each summer (usually late May/early June), the SOC and BTO Scotland hold a fully-funded bird camp, open to young birders aged between 10 and 16 who are passionate about nature. To find out about our Summer 2024 bird camp, please click here or sign up to our Youth Events mailing list below to hear about future camps.



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 a subscription to the Club from just £5 for a digital membership, 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.



Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and for both SOC trustees and staff, it means going over and above our minimum legal responsibilities and making sure the culture within the Club is to respect and protect the people that it comes into contact with. Our Safeguarding Policy is available on request from the Club Administrator.