An amazing place for wildlife - from puffins to orchids to birds of prey

We look after 13 nature reserves here, ranging from seacliffs and farmland to wetland and moorland. The amazing range of habitats produces an unforgettable range of wildlife, with something to see all year-round. 

There are bustling 'seabird cities', packed with fulmars, guillemots, puffins and kittiwakes. Our wetlands support nationally important numbers of wildfowl and waders, while our farmland is carefully managed to support a wide range of wildlife including corncrakes, buntings, finches wildflowers and bumblebees. The moorlands offer excellent chances of seeing hen harriers, short-eared owls, red-throated divers and a stunning array of wildflowers. 

There are unique opportunities for everyone to enjoy the experience of seeing a diverse range of natural wonders within stunning scenery, whether for you're new to wildlife watching, visiting with the family, or an experienced birdwatcher.

There are guided walks on many reserves between May and August, with a chance to enjoy wildlife watching with the experts on most days of the week.

Hope to see you soon!

Orkney Nature Festival

The Orkney Nature Festival will run from 13-17 May 2015 and the programme includes an exciting range of events, exploring all aspects of the islands' wildlife. 


  • Birsay Moors

    Beautiful wilderness offering great chances to see moorland wildlife

    Heather moorland at RSPB Birsay Moors nature reserve
  • Brodgar

    A magical walk at the heart of Orkney's heritage

    Oystercatcher sitting on nest
  • Cottascarth and Rendall Moss

    A mosaic of mires and heath, with some of the highest densities of curlews in the UK.

    Adult male hen harrier perched on heather, RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve, Islay
  • Hobbister

    Moorland where the sustainably-cut for peat for Highland Park whisky comes from!

    Red throated diver, summer plumage, wing flapping
  • Hoy

    Dramatic upland and coastal scenery in Orkney's 'High Island'

    Puffin perching on rock
  • Marwick Head

    A spectacular, curved, clifftop walk above a seabird city

    Great yellow bumblebee
  • Mill Dam, Shapinsay

    A small wetland gem with great views of wildfowl and waders

    Black-headed gull in flight at breeding colony
  • North Hill

    A wild and windswept walk around a beautiful island coastline

    Sea breaking against rocks, Mull Head, RSPB North Hill reserve, Papa Westray, Orkney
  • Noup Cliffs

    An awe-inspiring clifftop walk

    Razorbills perched on rocks at the RSPB North Hill nature reserve, Papa Westray, Orkney
  • Onziebust

    A small unspoilt island rich in wading birds, flowers and shore life

    Flooded corner of field, RSPB Onziebust reserve, Egilsay, Orkney
  • Trumland

    Wild moorland with charismatic nesting birds such as hen harriers and great skuas

    Bog pool bordered with sphagnum, RSPB Trumland reserve
  • The Loons and Loch of Banks

    A chance to see some of Orkney's wetland species close-up

    Black-tailed godwit in display flight


Your photos

  • Egilsay bee crops come alive
  • Short-eared Owl - 25/05/2013, AJL
  • Short-eared Owl in flight at the Harray Road end 25/05/2013, AJL
  • Still Enjoying Wild Orkney
  • Enjoying Wild Orkney
  • Black Guillemot portrait
  • Tystie Dispute?
  • Drakes
  • Short Eared Owl
  • Golden Oriole
  • Great black-backed gull with rabbit
  • Pintail
  • Pintails
  • Greylags on trial at The Loons
  • Gannets by Liz Johnston
  • Puffin by Erlend Johnston
  • Whinchat outside The Loons hide 11/11/2011
  • Love Nature RSPB Volunteers
  • Eider May 2011
  • Herring Gulls May 2011


Orkney Office

Telephone:01856 850176

12-14 North End
KW16 3AG

Stay safe

Orkney weather can be surprisingly changeable. Please make sure you have weather-proof clothing, stout footwear and, if you want to explore the hills away from the main path network, a map and compass. Please take great care around the cliff tops.