Bird Watching Journal Tips (for beginners)

Are you a novice bird watcher? How would you keep track of the first time that you see a species of our avian friends? Journaling might be an answer. Here are some ideas to ponder.

Bird Watching Journal Prompts

  • Where were you when you spotted the bird?
  • What is the name of the species?
  • What is the date when you spotted the bird?
  • Any other notes, such as “The Eastern Bluebird that I saw is too far west. I have never seen any here in California.”

One might even buy a pre-made bird watcher’s journal for this purpose, especially if you intend to answer the same questions for each bird.

Photos to Enhance the Journal

Images can enhance the journal. To capture the image, one can use a bird feeder to allow for a closer look, perhaps a more consistent flow of birds to your window.

Leave your camera at the window with the bird feeder. You can leave it running for a certain length of time when the birds usually come around and later grab stills from the footage to include in your journal.

If you have time, you can lie in wait and take a photo in person, if you feel you might not disturb them or if you have a decent lens.

If you have not yet mastered bird photos. . .

Yours truly has had very little success with taking bird photos. They are usually blurred and I need a better lens, or I am too late and they have flown away.

One can content oneself in describing the bird in the journal, or drawing it, or using public domain photos of the species from Pixabay until getting better at taking bird photos.

Beyond the Bird Feeder

The Audobon Society suggests investing in binoculars for your outdoor bird watching pleasure. There are also binoculars with built-in cameras, which might assist in taking those coveted bird photos.

If you are out and about beyond your bird feeder, not necessarily bird watching, yet you unexpectedly see a new species, quickly jot down your discovery. A pocket journal might be good for this task, or the Notes app on your phone. This author rarely ventures outside the house without some way to journal.

If you spot a bird that is unfamiliar to you, use the app or website by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to identify the species.

Read more tips on bird watching at the Audobon Society.

Peace,

Deborah

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