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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Love Nature? Create a Birding Journal!

Love Nature? Create a Birding Journal!

Are you an avid birder? Or simply a nature lover? If so, you should check out the rich world of bird journaling! Bird journaling is a way for both new and experienced birdwatchers to get a more rewarding experience from time spent birding. By keeping a bird journal, you will learn more details about a wide range of bird species, record your own thoughts by relating what you observed, develop your creative side, keep a record of your favorite birding locations, and connect with nature on a deeper level.

There are many different ways to keep a bird journal. You can use a blank book to create your birding journal, become a member of an online birding community, or keep track of your bird sighting progress with a bird diary application for your smartphone or tablet computer.

The first step is to figure out which option is the right fit for you. First, determine what you are hoping to accomplish by keeping a bird journal, and whether with each possible bird journal option would help you achieve those goals.

For instance, if you are someone who enjoys creating art from nature, having a physical bird journal in which you could sketch the birds you see would be essential. If you enjoy digital photography, or like poring over complex data, and online journal might work better for you.

In order to create your own birding journal, you will need to choose the blank book for your own birdwatching. Once you have selected a blank book that best fits your personality, you can take the time to find the writing implements that work best for your own journaling needs. If you want to sketch or paint in your journal, you will also need a wide assortment of art supplies, including spaints, paintbrushes, glue, tape, markers, colored pencils, pastels, and any other items that will enhance the journal itself.

The types of details that you’ll want to record in your birding journal may include location, weather details, items worth noting in the immediate surroundings, bird behavior, bird songs, size, color, size of the bill, color and pattern of plumage, and so forth. These details will be a valuable source of information for you as you develop your birdwatching skills further.

If you are more interested in a bird journal that is convenient, simple, and easy-to-use, then joining an online birding community would be to your advantage. Surfbirds is the world’s largest group of birding journals and diaries online. This online community allows you to keep your own birding journal, find local birders, and to post your profile so other birders will see you. The next option for ease of use is Birdwatcher’s Diary, an affordable app for recording bird sightings. Birdwatcher’s Diary allows the user to record notes within seconds, along with precise time and location. Plus, it gives the option for the user to add more field notes. Some additional features of this diary application include reviewing bird lists as either a sighting or a map, uploading these sightings to e-Bird and much more.

Other tools can help you add depth and character to your bird journal, including a good digital camera to add images to your journal, a field guide to identify different bird species, a handy set of binoculars to view birds, and a field bag that will stand the test of time. A pair of binoculars with a digital camera built in is a great choice if you plan to use the camera primarily for birding. Plus, it can be more affordable than a digital camera .

A digital camera offers birders in the field durability and quality performance. It captures clear and sharp images of birds you want to include in your birding journal. As you start to use your digital camera, along with your field guide, you will better develop the observational skills necessary for successful birdwatching. Plus, with the help of the digital camera, you can focus more on how the bird acts in nature.

A field guide is a useful resource for birders because it provides detailed information about a large number of birds in the wild. It gives you the added benefit of having pictures of hundreds of birds, range maps, and summary descriptions of bird species. Most field guides are also lightweight, makingthem convenient to carry in the field. This tool will make birdwatching easier, and enrich the information of your journal.

Every birder should also have a good pair of binoculars for birdwatching. Binoculars make it easier to see birds that at a distance, by magnifying the object with the objective lens. Binoculars are identified by the magnification, and the size of the objective lens. For example, an 8×32 would mean a pair of binoculars that had a power of 8 and a lens that is 32 millimeters. 8 is considered to be a good power for birdwatching and is trusted by many birders.

The field bag should be easy for you to use in the field and be strong enough to hold all your birding essentials. You may want to consider a bag that offers you plenty of pockets for storing items. It might be worth looking at bags that offer bands that can hold weight well and will make it easy for you to move around. One thing to consider is the color of the field bag you choose. You may want to pick a bag that is will help you blend in a color like brown, green, or gray.

3 comments

1 Kathleen { 07.07.13 at 9:50 am }

What a great idea! I’ve kept a list of birds I’ve seen throughout the years, but never thought of keeping a journal. Sounds like fun… And I love new journals.

2 Kyle Brooks { 04.17.13 at 12:06 pm }

Thank you for this great information and great ideas for keeping a journal. My husband and I watch the comings and goings of all types of birds in our own backyard. We have seen Robins, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Orioles, Redwing Blackbirds, Bluejays, Morning Doves,Sparrows, Chickadees, Finches, Hummingbirds,Brown Thrashers, Woodpeckers of all varieties including a pair of Pileated woodpeckers, Hawks, Crows, Grackles, Starlings,Geese,Turkeys a Cow bird,and right now we have over a hundred little Juncoes in our backyard. We have also had a flock of about 50 ducks fly into our backyard. I know it’s hard to believe but it truly is a bird sanctuary in our backyard. Keeping a diary of when they come and go would be very interesting.

3 Janice Anderson { 04.16.13 at 1:39 pm }

I would love to do this, I guess I already have been watching birds for the past 3 to 4yrs. I had a cardinal that started knocking at my window spring 2010, I’ve been watching, taking pictures and video for the past 3 to 4yrs. We have about 10 different birds feeding at our feeder. At first they fought, now they all share. We could all learn from this.

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