This film is part of Free

St. Kilda, Its People and Birds

Pioneering natural history film from the Outer Hebrides.

Travelogue 1908 6 mins Silent


Rare images of life on Scotland's remote St Kilda islands, 22 years before they were evacuated. As the title suggests, this lovely film presents both local birdlife and the humans who prey on it for subsistence. Natural history is one film genre in which Britain can truly claim to be a world leader, and this film, by pioneer ornithologist-filmmaker Oliver Pike, is one of the most famous early examples.

While the people and birds (not forgetting the fish caught by the islanders) are the focus of the film, the friendly local dogs are also much in evidence. For Pike, filming St Kilda's birds and the locals snaring them was not only a test of technical ingenuity but also of bravery and stamina - climbing dangerously steep cliffs with the heavy filming equipment of the day to get these, for the time, astounding shots.