This is the first publication dedicated exclusively to the birds of Skye. Originally published in 2005, an updated 2nd edition was published in 2009. It has already proved a valuable source of reference not just to those who live on the island, but to the many tourists and other visitors who come to the area each year.
Although the importance of the island group for Golden Eagles, and more recently White-tailed Eagles, is well recognised, the fact that Skye supports a wide diversity of bird life has largely gone unnoticed. Over 240 different species have been recorded in Skye, and 14 of these species, red listed as of high conservation concern, currently breed on the island. Based on reports which have been collected over the last 125 years, the book analyses all of these records and provides a systematic list of species, their status and distribution. There are additional chapters on habitats, conservation issues, and historical figures such as the Rev. Hugh Macpherson of Glendale , and Seton Gordon, who in different ways, were extremely influential in the development of knowledge of the area. A chapter is also dedicated to identifying areas of special interest to birdwatchers, and this should be invaluable to visitors and locals alike.
Skye Birds is written and compiled by Bob McMillan who has been interested in birds for over 40 years and who formerly acted as a local representative for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and was also an office bearer with the Scottish Raptor Study Groups. Bob lives at Elgol on the south west coast of Skye and runs this web site (skye-birds.com) which has published the book. There are 176 pages, 8 of which are in full colour. Photographs for the front cover of White-tailed Eagle were taken by the author, and all the other images were taken on the island by either Bob McMillan or by Martin Benson. The text contains etchings and line drawings by Jean Thomas of the Loch Harport Gallery, Portnalong. The book was also printed on the island by Strath Print of Broadford.
Although 'Skye Birds' is available in various outlets on Skye, in the Highlands, and through a number of online booksellers. It is also available direct from the author:-
Isle of Skye
At a price of £14 including UK post and packaging. For overseas please contact for shipping rates.
Cheques and Postal Orders should be made payable to 'R.McMillan'.
"It is a surprise that the recently published Skye Birds by Bob McMillan is the first publication dedicated exclusively to its birds. For some reason the island of Skye has been regarded as a birdwatching backwater important for Golden Eagles, White tailed Eagles and not much more. Despite this undeserved reputation a total of 238 species have been recorded, with 14 of those 'red listed' as of high conservation concern.......another innovation has been the inclusion of Gaelic names for some birds. While this is not uncommon in a few other books, the addition of some regional Gaelic names is very unusual and very welcome."
Ray Collier Country Diary 'Up in the Skye' The Guardian 9th June 2005
"A book such as this has to look backwards and the author does so succinctly, looking at the work of several of the pioneering naturalists before picking out the publications of JA Harvie-Brown and the Rev. Hugh Macpherson......I can urge the reader to dip into the book and find the information. The colour photographs are a special feature of the book. Jean Thomas has given the use of her etchings and drawings which illustrate the species list and this is a valuable contribution. I know this book fills a real gap in the information available for the Isle of Skye and it will surely sell well at local bookshops."
Andrew Currie Miscellany West Highland Free Press 3rd June, 2005 .
"Illustrated with beautiful photographs of current birdlife on the island, the publication also features sketches by Jean Thomas of The Little Gallery, Portnalong, stimulating the reader's interest further and allowing them to identify species they encounter on Skye."
The Hebridean Friday 3rd June 2005.