Monday, July 6, 2020

The World's Premier Listing Software
for Birders and Naturalists!

Celebrating 25 Years Serving Birders
and Naturalists around the World!

Bird Listing Software: An Overview


Birder's Diary Dashboard - What are my life counts?

Birder's Diary Dashboard - What are my life counts?

Birding is both an enjoyable and educational pastime that can become an even greater experience with the right bird listing software. Bird listing software allows you to keep active track of sightings, enhance your ability to recall past sightings, and determine trends. It also helps you to keep accurate life counts for any region, record additional information related to sightings, and share the data you collect with other birders and scientists. It is much more efficient than using a pen and paper or spreadsheet to record your sightings, and it can significantly boost your enjoyment. There are more than a few birding programs available, and it can be challenging for new birders to sift through the lot and find the most comprehensive without losing essential functionality. You also have to separate your basic Phone Apps from fully functional PC programs that can do more than just record the sighting. So, how does one search for and choose the right software?

What is Bird Listing Software

Before purchasing a bird listing software solution, it is important to understand what it does, and how it can help you. Bird listing software has revolutionized the hobby, and quality software allows you to keep flexible records of your sightings including location, date, time, weather, and other valuable characteristics. Generating reports is another excellent feature, and a quality program provides the ability to create them in a number of different formats for many different purposes suited to your own needs and desires. Checklists can also be printed for any location.

Quality software has features like:

  • ability to store photos, videos, audio files and other miscellaneous documents with your sightings;
  • allows you to quickly and accurately compare different sets of sightings across locations, dates, observers and much more;
  • generate useful reports that summarize important information such as lifers gained on trips, annual lifers, location lifers, total species/forms counts etc. A useful report these days shows birders which families they have/have-not got sightings for.
  • ability to import/export data into/out-of other programs such as Excel;
  • ability to define, record and report on any user-defined data you choose to store; such as plumage, song, breeding, on nest, on TV, list validation, etc.;
  • multiple fast entry methods supported for those more use to a mouse-oriented check-off style or keyboard entry style;
  • ability to choose among multiple tax lists to cover the region you are interested in, along with taxonomic lists for the general naturalist (such as mammals, reptiles, trees, butterflies and other flora and fauna;
  • ability to edit all characteristics of all sightings individually or as a set;
  • support unlimited observers;
  • support an unlimited location hierarchy with unlimited parents and children for each location (this option supports fantastic reporting abilities not found in other solutions);
  • ability to define and build your own reports using pre-built templates; print reports or save them as PDF or plain text files.

The taxonomic lists available in a particular program define what you can keep track of. When seeking a software solution, it is valuable to ask questions such as:

  • Does the taxonomic list available contain only the species of birds in North America, Western Europe, Africa, or Worldwide?
  • Does it contain all the subspecies of each species for the given region, or just the species itself?
  • Is there more than one taxonomic list to choose from?
  • Can I also record sightings for butterflies, snakes, mammals, and other flora and fauna?
  • Am I able to add-on or upgrade these taxonomic lists when the experts update them?
  • Am I forced into particular lists without the ability to pick and choose which ones I desire?
  • Can I modify the tax list to include hybrids and group-level items such as unknown accipiter, and others?

How many species of birds have I seen in Colorado versus my wife?

How many species of birds have I seen in Colorado versus my wife?

Benefits of Birding Software

The right Bird listing software has a lot of outstanding benefits. Here's a quick overview of just a few of the primary benefits offered by comprehensive bird listing software such as Birder's Diary:

  • Immediate Access to Your Sightings. You can quickly locate, view and edit sightings of interest with software, something that is very tedious and almost impossible with other forms of record keeping. You need to see all your sightings you have in your home county, or all of your sightings of Blue Grosbeak around the World? Software can do this for you quickly and easily. How many species did I see last year? Software is the answer. Quick and easy.
  • See Your Life List. Of utmost importance to many birders and naturalists - what is my Life List? A life list is the list of species seen by an observer for a given location (e.g. home, county, state, country, World, etc.). With other forms of recording, this can be a very tedious or almost impossible task. The right software program can give you that information instantly with the click of a button. Good programs will always keep you up to date with a dashboard showing your favorite regions and life lists, always letting you know your counts - graphically. You should have the ability to see your Life List (species seen) for any location, observer, time frame, and others instantly. For example, you can quickly answer: How many birds/butterflies/other have I seen in California? How many this year? What are my target birds for an upcoming trip to Arizona (which I have yet to see anywhere, in Arizona, in the last year, or any time period). You cannot get this level of information on a notepad or a spreadsheet. Using your sightings data you can determine when you can expect a species to return to your yard. A graph, for example, showing your Black-headed Grosbeak sightings from January to December for all years will clearly display the periods your sightings were most concentrated. This level of functionality can revolutionize the way you track and sight birds.
  • Attach Photos and Other Multimedia. You can attach photos, videos, audio files or any valid file type related to your sightings directly within the software. Perhaps you have pictures of the preserve you traveled to you and you want to connect it to your sightings. Also, searching filters allow you to search and display the attachments you desire at any time. Photos can be viewed for an entire trip, or a subset of sightings. All of this is done with the software. Everything is kept securely, accurately, and efficiently in one place.
  • Compare Sightings. You can also use this feature to compare one year's sightings to another year or set of years. For example, you can monitor the behavior of your warbler sightings over a specified period. This is a very useful feature that turns an average bird watcher into a citizen scientist.
  • Import and export data. Users can share data with other bird watchers and scientists on sightings, locations, special reports, and more. The data you upload and share can help researchers track trends and discover environmental issues within a region. Your data can also be used to compare one location’s sightings to another location. This information can be useful for planning trips to the best places for bird watching in your area or around the world.
  • Access extensive taxonomic lists. Lists not only cover birds, but also flora and fauna including mammals, butterflies, and trees. All this information can be easily accessed using the software's search function. Birder's Diary also contains the leading full taxonomic lists for all the birds in the world, including subspecies, making it an ideal one-stop-shop for birders.

Finding the Right Bird Listing Software

For new birders, all these features can seem a bit overwhelming. Being bombarded with so much information to learn can be disconcerting. Use the information above, in this article, to assist you in knowing what to look for and what might be valuable to you.

Birder’s Diary offers both basic and advanced functionality allowing you to learn the easy to use software at your own pace. Basic licenses can be upgraded to an advanced license at any time.

Choose the functionality you need based on your experience level or preference, and use the features needed to further enrich your experience when desired. Comprehensive bird listing software such as Birder’s Diary can adapt to your needs and grows with you. Each version is sold and priced separately. To upgrade from basic to advanced functionality, you need only to purchase the upgrade license, no new product to download or install. A fully licensed upgrade provides lifetime access to all the features of the purchased version of the software.

If you have been considering the use of bird listing software, we invite you to try Birder’s Diary. As the most comprehensive and feature-rich birding program available, we are confident you will not be disappointed.

Try Birder's Diary

Birder’s Diary is the World's premier listing software for birders and naturalists, for good reason. For over 20 years, Birder's Diary has been leading the industry in technology, products, and services. The software uses the top taxonomic lists making it great not only for birders, but for anyone passionate about trees, plants, reptiles, mammals, butterflies, and many other forms of natural beauty. It is much more than a mere listing program allowing you to attach photographs, compare sightings, create a family report, and generate reports. For more information, please browse our features page on our website, or contact us at We also offer a free 30-day trial of our software with no commitment necessary. Birder's Diary warmly welcomes you to the beautiful sport of birding and looks forward to helping you make the most of your new hobby.