Bird Life List - Keeping A Record of The Birds You See

A bird life list can enhance the birdwatching experience. Author Rick Chapo discusses the types of entries and methods for keeping a life list of the birds you see.

Author: Rick Chapo

If you're a birder, you want to keep a list of sightings when you bird watch. Your life lists should be kept in a bird-watching journal.

A bird life list is a record of the species of birds you've sighted over time. Typically, the list is kept in a journal. Each entry notes the bird species, the date, the location, and any notes you want to add.

Depending on your particular bird-watching exploits, you can keep one global list or separate lists as you see fit.

For many bird watchers, one life list simply isn't enough. So, how can you break down your list? Here are a few ideas:

1. Yard Lists - birds sighted around your home.

2. Annual Lists - for each year you bird watch.

3. State Lists - sighting for a particular state.

4. Trip Lists - Journals for particular bird-watching vacations or tours.

5. County List - tracking birds in your county.

6. Life List - Birds on your list that you've never seen and may only see once in your life.

Need a Journal to track Your Sightings?
bird field diary
The Sibley Birder's Life List and Field Diary

Computer Life Lists, you can purchase computer life list programs or use online variations. Each program is different, but most come in a checklist format.

You enter information and the program spits out your list.

The problem with using computer programs is well, the computer aspect. Unless you are willing to lug a laptop around with you, there is going to be a delay between sightings and your journal entries.

Using a computer program is also troublesome if you want to keep a collection of sketches of particular species you've identified.

For most birders, a computer list is a supplement to a good journal, not a replacement.

Bird watching is an extremely personal passion. If you're just starting out, you may think you don't need to keep a list or record sightings.

The problem with this approach, of course, is you will regret the decision if you later decide to do so. All those sightings will be gone with time?

If you're going to start bird watching, make sure you keep a bird life list journal from the outset. As I like to say, preserving the experience!

Things change fast and even faster in the digital world. Some people prefer something tangible in their hand and others are into what's new.

Today, people carry a computer in their pocket called a phone. There are apps and special sites like where one can join and track sightings.

Special Note About Starting a Bird Life List

If you've never started a bird-watching life list, begin today in your own backyard. Invite more birds to your yard by adding several different feeders with a variety of seed types.

You'll be surprised at just how many different types of birds can be found in your backyard.

It's amazing when you begin to feed birds and find out there can be 20+ species visiting instead of just the three you noticed before.

If you stop using the cheap seed you'll stop getting only House Sparrows and start seeing native species instead.

Once you begin birder's record of sightings and adding the birds to your life list, you can begin expanding your list by taking trips to nearby parks, golf courses, and even your friend's homes.

See Also:

Keeping a Bird Watching Journal

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