Strategy for Skagen Bird Observatory (2019 - 2024)


The Skagen Bird Observatory was inaugurated in May 2017 and forms an integral part of Skagen Grå Fyr, which includes a digital and interactive exhibition about bird migration. At Det Grå Fyr, there is access to the lighthouse, a café, and a nature store. Skagen Bird Observatory operates and develops the center as one joint unit, and therein lies a significant challenge for the parties.

The bird station collects bird data all year round, contributes to scientific projects, and offers nature guidance and tours. The Observatory's manager, ringers, observers, and communicators comprise the bird station's staff. DOF members can rent the guest apartment and get an insight into and contribute to the site's activities.

In May, the bird festival is held annually with the association of friends. Skagen is known as the best spring migration site for birds of prey in Northern Europe, and many bird watchers from near and far visit us during this period.

Skagen Bird Observatory applies several scientific methods for monitoring bird migration, e.g., radar, radio telemetry, sound recordings, etc., combined with observations and ring marking. The Bird Observatory carries out project-oriented field work, i.a., in collaboration with universities and other stakeholders, where data is published continuously.

Skagen Bird Station performs activities according to the values: Birds, Experiences, Knowledge, and Community.

Skagen Bird Observatory focuses on teaching and upskilling staff and volunteers in a learning community atmosphere where everyone acquires new knowledge and skills regardless of level.

The Mission

The Skagen Bird Observatory is part of a large public project around Det Grå Fyr. The Danish Ornithological Association (DOF) is involved in a unique collaboration with the Nature Agency Vendsyssel (NST), Frederikshavn Municipality, and Turisthus Nord to create and operate the Skagen Grå Fyr - Center for migratory birds. The Skagen Bird Observatory is thus an integral part of the Skagen Grå Fyr- Center for migratory birds. Here, science and nature communication must go together symbiotically to benefit the birds and their habitats, outdoor life, and the many visitors to the scenic Skagen.


The Vision

Skagen Bird Observatory will be the foremost within the following four general areas:

  1. Scientific collection and publication of bird data through fieldwork.
  2. Communication of birds and nature for both specialists and the public to inspire.
  3. Collaborate at local, national, and international levels and enter developing partnerships.
  4. The station will contribute significantly to the financial operation and activities.


Strategy until 2024

The Observatory is a center for the scientific collection of data about birds and their habitats, which DOF, authorities, organizations, and others can use to contribute to the fulfillment of DOF's purpose of bird protection and spreading knowledge of birds, as well as the members' participation in DOF's activities.

  1. The station cooperates in a structured and continuous manner with individuals, authorities, scientific organizations, NGOs, and the tourist area.
  2. Through the Birdlife collaboration, the Observatory will develop a permanent, formal, and mutually enriching cooperation with the leading bird stations in Denmark, the Nordic countries, and other relevant parts of the world - i.a., through the Birdlife collaboration.
  3. The Observatory will develop a solid and well-established collaboration with local enthusiasts - including Skagen Fuglestation's Friends - who actively support the station's operation.
  4. The Observatory will establish a sustainable organization with paid staff and volunteers to handle management, communication, training, knowledge sharing, and fieldwork.
  5. The Observatory will contribute actively to DOF's major dissemination projects.
  6. The Observatory will have daily outreach events for visitors and the migratory bird center.
  7. The Observatory will inspire DOF members who come to Skagen so that these members voluntarily participate in the station's work and data collection.
  8. Part of the Observatory's annual expenses and activities are covered by its measures.

Aims towards 2024

The Professional, scientific work:

Aim: Skagen Bird Observatory collects scientific data via ring marking and observations, which, among other things, can shed light on changes in bird species distribution, population sizes, breeding success, and phenology.

Objective: Skagen Bird Observatory collects data that is recorded, processed, and published to make it available to researchers, authorities, and bird enthusiasts in general.

Objective: Active contact with the press that ensures that news, popular articles, etc. disseminated as soon as possible with the aim of spreading knowledge of the bird case, DOF, and the Bird Stations.

Cooperation with other organizations:

Goals: Through collaboration with Skagen Grå Fyr's actors, Skagen Bird Observatory plans to strengthen common goals. The Bird Observatory and the Norwegian Nature Agency work closely to enhance the dissemination of bird migration information, knowledge about birds and their living conditions.

Objective: The Bird Observatory and DOF actively establish contacts and projects with external actors, such as universities, nature organizations, and public authorities.

The bird station's national and international work:

Objective: The Bird Observatory actively establishes and maintains national and international bird station work through joint projects.

Bird station, the association of friends, and the local environment:

Objective: The Bird Observatory carries out the day-to-day operations in an inclusive, collaborative atmosphere between the station's employees and local area volunteers.


Aim: The Bird Observatory has a permanent staff primarily of Danish ringers/observers and secondarily of foreigners. An employed bird station manager manages the station's permanent team.

Objective: The Observatory's permanent staff actively recruit and train new ringers and observers.

Objective: The Board actively participates in developing the bird station in close cooperation with the bird station's employee manager.


DOF's major communication projects:

Objective: The Bird Observatory participates in and contributes to national projects initiated by DOF, such as DOFbasen, Atlas projects, eFugl, etc.

Daily communication events:

Objective: The Bird Observatory employees and associated volunteers ensure daily dissemination of the bird life in Skagen through nature tours, dissemination at the center, and digital dissemination.

The bird station as a focal point for DOF members visiting Skagen:

Objective: The Bird Observatory is the natural focal point for collecting data in Skagen.

Objective: The Bird Observatory is a social focal point for DOF members visiting Skagen.

Objective: The Bird Observatory encourages visiting DOF members to participate actively in the bird station's work.


Funding of the bird station:

Objective: DOF finances the Bird Observatory. Locally generated income from foundations and sponsors supplements the funding from DOF.

/ The Board of Directors of Skagen Bird Observatory (September 2018)