Many bird watchers and backyard birders enjoy keeping a bird names list. The list might be of the wild birds they have seen in their own backyard or they may keep a life list, which are all the birds they have seen since they started bird watching.
Keeping a bird names list is a wonderful way to enhance both the educational and the pleasurable aspects of bird watching. It is also fun to look back in your notes and remember where you were when you had a special sighting, for example, your first bald eagle. Keeping records of bird sightings can also reveal patterns of occurrence and activity.
The one you choose is up to you. There are no rules here, the way you organize your bird list is personal choice.
A checklist can be as simple as you like. You may just want to write down the names of the birds you see. You can add a few details to include time, date and location. You can use a sheet of lined paper, kept in a notebook or a bird list that is prepared specifically for your geographic location.
Most bird field guides will include a bird names list, which could be used as a checklist. You can also obtain checklists from popular birding locations, local bird watching clubs or nature stores. If you decide to use the checklist provided in a field guide, leave that guide at home and take along a small notebook or a different field guide to keep track of what you see. It would be a shame to discover it lost after returning home from a productive day of birding.
As a birder you may want to go beyond a simple checklist. Keeping multiple lists to track your sightings will give you the ability to add more detail to your records.
You can take your bird names list to an even greater level of detail by starting a birding journal. There are many pre-made birding journals available, but for more creative freedom you can make your own. You can include as much or as little detail as you like. There are no rules for what should be written in your birding journal.
Programs have improved in recent years. You can electronically record many of the same things that you can manually record, but the real advantage is organization and report generation.
Most birding software is already fully equipped with a number of predefined reports. Some will even allow you to add digital photographs to your journal pages. Try to choose software that is easy to use with enough flexibility to allow you to be creative with your bird list.
Jan 17, 18 09:40 AM
Seen in Lake Whitney State Park Texas. We have many hawks here, especially Red-tailed. Wasn't sure if this is a dark morph red-tail, Harris's or something
Jan 13, 18 11:30 AM
Small black bird with white stripes on face and long feathered tail which sings a beautiful song seen in Mumbai
Jan 11, 18 10:32 PM
Can you help me identify a bird I saw last week that I've not seen before? It was eating berries in a dogwood tree in North Central Washington state.