Birding, or birdwatching, is a great activity. It’s easy, relaxing and brings you closer to nature, as well as giving you a real insight on all things ornithological. Recording sightings of birds is pseudonymous with keeping a birding journal, a way to stay on top of the different birds you’ve seen and increasing your capacity for properly cataloguing birds as you see them. However, a list of sightings does not an interesting journal make, and there Is a whole lot more that you can do to make it interesting, exciting and richly informative.
So, with that said, here are some tips for maintaining a birding journal properly.
Choose The Right Journal
There are all sorts of different journals available to you out on the market, it’s just a question of doing a little bit of research. Blank-paged journals give you total liberty over how you organize things, and lots of space to insert unusual things which interest you. Conversely, you could go for a journal with dates in it. This way you already have a metric by which you can order your sightings and you will never lose track of when it was you saw which species. It’s entirely up to you but it requires you to think ahead about the type of journal you want to keep.
Always Have Writing Supplies
This is a really tricky one for some people. It’s all very well having your well-organized journal at hand when you spot a rare bird, but if you don’t have a utensil to record the sighting you may very well forget details like time, or feather colors. The best solution is to find a journal which allows you to attach a pen and a pencil to it. The alternate option is that you find a way to constantly have writing supplies on you, maybe by replacing them in the bottom of you backpack every time. Whatever you do, this is vital.
Decide Your Criteria
When putting together a birding journal it can be a challenge to decide what needs to be written down and what might be considered less relevant information. “The truth is that there is no such thing as a right and wrong answer. You could take a zoological route and shoot for the ultra-scientific classifications, or you could honestly draw a picture, as we’ll discuss later, and then write how it made you feel,” explains Sarah Jones, bird watcher at State Of Writing and Academized. However, if you really aren’t certain where to start, here are some basic criteria you can consider when recording a sighting: Date, Time, Location, Weather, Flora, Size, Color(s) of whole body, Song, Behavior. These will give you a really thorough pool of data to draw from later on and make sure that the sighting stays clear in your mind indefinitely.
Don’t Stress Too Much
In all likelihood, no-one will ever really read the journal. You might show people, but the point is, unless you do this for a career, it’s very unlikely it will end up published. The upshot of this is that you shouldn’t let form and attention to things like spelling or grammar be too much of a concern for you. It is far better for you to write freely more than anything else. It will keep the content genuine and leave you with a journal which will bring you great memories when you look at it later on in life.
A really popular form of birding journal is the sketched birding journal. It goes without saying, but this essentially means that you draw the birds you see. “Now, if you really have no ability to sketch then this is more likely to be frustrating than anything else. But if you have even a shred of skill in this regard it can be a fantastic thing to do and, the more that you do it, the better it will look,” suggests Jason Jules, a writer at Australian Help and Paper Fellows. So give it a go!
Birding is an amazing activity that can be really rewarding as well as therapeutic. Birds are such beautiful creatures and, the second you start really looking, you realize just how many of them there are. Hopefully these ideas will come in handy as you embark on your own birding journal adventure.