Monday, July 6, 2020

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Bird Watching Journals And Taking Field Notes: What To Know?

Journals are simple and inexpensive.

Journals are simple and inexpensive.

Birding software can provide an incredible boost to your enjoyment of bird watching. However, when we are out in the field, it may be challenging to haul our laptops with us. Even when you use tracking software, it can be very helpful to bring a bird watching journal with you when you are out and about. So, what is a bird watching journal, and just as important, what field notes should you be taking? In this article, we will take a brief look at journals and field notes to help you get the most out of your experiences, and better utilize the birding software you use at home.

What is a Bird Watching Journal?

A bird watching journal, or field journal, is basically just a notebook you can use to record data regarding your sightings. It can be as fancy or as plain as you like. Whether you choose a leather bound journal or a simple lined notebook, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Your journal should be small and easy to carry with you, yet still large enough to avoid writing that is cramped. It should still fit comfortably in your gear bag or pocket. Also, you will want fast and easy access to it so you can start jotting at a moment's notice. This helps you avoid the dilemma of forgetting details before you have a chance to record them. A checklist will help you remember which birds you encountered. However, it does not allow you to record other valuable details that can greatly enrich your bird watching.

What Field Notes Should I Be Taking?

Using a blank journal is a great way to make your field notes, as this allows you to customize it for the information and note system you prefer. Field notes are subjective and depending on who you are, you may prefer to include data that others do not. Alternatively, you may feel that some details others value are not needed for your sightings. What field notes you take is completely up to you. In general, there are some specific data that are most commonly recorded. This includes the name of the species, its habitat or environment, the weather when the sighting was made, the location, and the date it was found. Many bird watchers find field notes one of the most rewarding aspects of bird watching. Some will take detailed notes describing the bird's appearance, its behavior, or the sounds it makes. For some birders, it is helpful for them to develop a system of shorthand for themselves. This allows them to record more details in a shorter period, as time is not always a luxury following a sighting.

Journals record details you won't remember when you get back from the field.

Journals record details you won't remember when you get back from the field.

What Do I Do With My Field Notes?

It is not uncommon for birders to spend time studying their notes regularly to both increase their knowledge and improve their identification skills. Having notes also allows you to compare species, understand them in greater depth, and track any patterns your notes unlock. Your field notes also allow you to relive the excitement, remembering those special moments when you find a species you’ve never seen before. Field notes are a tangible record of your hobby, and it is a very valuable tool to use. However, once you leave the field, using a bird watching journal alone does not allow you incredible benefits you can find when using your journal in conjunction with quality birding software. Inputting your field notes into such a system will only intensify what you get out of it. They can even be easily shared to help conservationists and scientists protect our favorite birding areas. If you have not considered using birding software, it may be worth a look.

About Birder's Diary

Birder’s Diary is the World's premier listing software for birder's and naturalists, for good reason. For over 20 years, Birder's Diary has been leading the industry in both 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 look forward to helping you make the most of your new hobby.