Creating A Bird Journal

Keeping a bird feeder journal is easy to create and fun to do. It can be your personal journal or a family journal. All you need is a notebook, pen and a bird feeder. You can enhance your experience with a pair of binoculars and a field guide to help you identify the birds that may visit your feeder.

Our family started keeping a journal when we moved into our new home. Since our yard is registered as a Backyard Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, we thought it would be fun to document nature activity in our yard. We made our list by the year so we could compare our sightings from one year to the next. We wrote down the name of the bird, the date we saw it in our yard and made observation notes. We also made notes on any improvements or changes that occurred to our backyard habitat.

Here are tips that may help you in creating your bird journal.

1. Should I give my journal a title? Yes. Call it what you want, but keep it relevant to what you are using it for. “Sight Seeing List”, “Birds In My Yard”, “My Backyard Birds”, “Birds- Eye View List”, “Bird At My Feeder, etc. Be creative because it is your personal list.

2. What should my journal look like? You can use one or a combination of the following. *A plain notebook to jot down sightings and notes. *A field guide to check off the birds you identify. *You can keep a personal file on the computer to document your bird information. You can make it as elaborate as you want by adding columns. If you choose to use a computer to document your information, I would suggest to keep a hard copy in case your computer crashes. You wouldn’t want to loose your journal entries. You can purchase birding software programs to keep track of your list. The only drawback to software is that it becomes outdated.

3. What information should I document in my journal? Basically, whatever you want to record. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. If it is important to you, then write it down. You can just make a list of species or you can include the date, time of day and observation notes as we did in our family journal. The notes can include; how many of its kind were sighted at a specific time or was it alone, where did you see it-was it at a feeder, birdbath, in a tree, in the sky or in a birdhouse, describe what the bird looks like-any unusual markings, did you hear its’ song, what was the birds’ behavior-was it timid or oblivious to its surroundings, make a simple drawing of the bird.

4. When and where do I use my bird journal? Birding journals can be kept anywhere there are bird sightings. You can make more than one journal. You can make a journal of birds in your yard, birds you see on vacation or birds you see on a hike. If you are an avid walker, you can take a small notebook with you and jot down notes. Then each time you go for a walk, you can compare from day to day what birds you’ve seen. You can even keep it by seasons and compare the differences you observe.

Bird journaling is a fun, relaxing and educational hobby. It can be quiet rewarding over time. You can even turn it into a family activity. Each family member can keep a journal. It’s fun to compare notes. Much can be learned from each other and our feathered friends!