Couple facing redundancy after a decade running Fair Isle Bird Observatory

The couple running a world famous bird observatory are facing redundancy after a decade in the job. 

Fair Isle Bird Observatory (Fibo) warden David Parnaby and his wife Susannah, who works as an administrator, announced the news on Facebook yesterday.

Mr Parnaby said: “This is a hard message to write and it’s not a cry for help, an attempt for sympathy or attention or after any responses.

“It is something we wanted to tell people though, and it seemed like Facebook is a good a place as any.

“Susannah and I have been in a meeting today in which we were both made redundant by the board that runs Fibo.

“As the only two permanent staff members of the observatory, and considering the work that we have put into Fibo during the ten years we have run it, we are very disappointed.”

News of their redundancy was met with comments of shock and concern. 

Fibo said it was not yet able to comment.

Trust chairman Douglas Barr said: “Formal procedures will conclude shortly. 

“Fibo will issue a full statement thereafter.”

Fibo has been unable to generate any revenue since a fire in March 2019, which left it completely destroyed. 

Since then, the Fibo team has been working to resurrect the observatory, with hopes for a reopening as soon as next year. 

Last summer saw the launch of a £650,000 international crowdfunder appeal, spearheaded by trust patron, Ann Cleeves, the author of the Shetland crime novels, who previously worked at the centre and met her late husband there. 

The funds will go towards the estimated £7.4m cost of the rebuild.


Add Your Comment
  • Gary Brian Prescott

    • February 11th, 2021 9:00

    I am so saddened by this news. David and Sussanah are such a wonderful couple and for them to face this now, after the horrific trials of the time of the fire, is something they don’t deserve. I just hope the birding community will get together and help them in some way.


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