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Wed Dec 7, 2011, 08:44 AM

Do you keep your life list in an actual journal, on the computer, or in your head?

I am thinking of starting some kind of journal to keep up with all the birds I have seen. I can't think of what would be the best way to organize it to make it easier to find all the species. I had thought of using my Field Guide to Birds, because it is already perfectly organized, but I hate writing in published books. So far, I have just been mentally keeping up with it, but would enjoy it much more if I could put a date, time, and place down somewhere to remember that too. I'm horrible with remembering dates and sometimes even years. I tend to remember eras of my life better than years.

I was just wondering what others do to keep up with all the wonderful species of birds and the times and dates and places where you saw them.

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Reply Do you keep your life list in an actual journal, on the computer, or in your head? (Original post)
Jamastiene Dec 2011 OP
GentryDixon Dec 2011 #1
jpak Dec 2011 #6
cpwm17 Dec 2011 #2
XemaSab Dec 2011 #3
Jamastiene Dec 2011 #4
XemaSab Dec 2011 #5
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2011 #7
stevedeshazer Dec 2011 #8
semillama Dec 2011 #9
Jamastiene Dec 2011 #10
semillama Dec 2011 #11

Response to Jamastiene (Original post)

Wed Dec 7, 2011, 10:13 AM

1. I notate in my Peterson Field Guide.

It is fun to go back & see the different notations over the years, and where I was on May 27, 1994. Backyard, Cassin's Kingbird.

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Response to GentryDixon (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 10, 2011, 01:24 AM

6. Me too

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Response to Jamastiene (Original post)

Wed Dec 7, 2011, 05:32 PM

2. I use Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

I keep both checklists and separate lists in the order I found them with date and location.

I keep checklists for every state (since I like to travel, and I've lived in a number of states), but only detailed lists for a few of the more important states and my life list. Excel keeps my running totals. Excel makes it simple and I spend very little time on the lists.

You can Google up the checklists to put on the spreadsheet.

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Response to Jamastiene (Original post)

Wed Dec 7, 2011, 08:42 PM

3. It took me a while to get over the stigma against writing in books

but making notes in the field guide can be very helpful.

I keep my notes in the field guide and on the computer.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 8, 2011, 12:55 AM

4. I may have to do just that.

I like the spreadsheet idea too. I could go through my field guide and maybe make categories (water related birds, songbirds, birds that hang out on the ground mostly, or just copy the way they have it in my field guide). Then again, what you are saying would make more sense. Just use the Field guide. I had better do something while the eastern towhee dates are fresh in my mind. I'll forget those dates. I won't forget where I saw a bird, but I can't keep dates in my head to save me.

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 8, 2011, 01:15 AM

5. If you're thinking about things like arrival dates

you should check out ebird.com. Not only does it keep track of all that stuff for you, but it's SCIENCE.

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Response to Jamastiene (Original post)

Tue Dec 13, 2011, 03:16 PM

7. partly my head, mostly in a notebook I take with me on vacations...

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Response to Jamastiene (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 09:24 PM

8. It's all in my head.

And that's cause for concern.

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Response to Jamastiene (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 08:41 AM

9. You can purchase a nice birder's journal from Nat Geo

and there's always eBird, which is a good way to contribute to citizen science while managing your checklists. There are some things about it that are quirky in terms of listing (at least to me) - such as it doesn't seem to distinguish if a bird is acceptable on a state list. I've told the Ohio reviewers for eBird not to expect any Trumpeter Swan reports from me, since the bird is not on our state list as an introduced species and I don't want my personal state list count to be screwed up. Same thing with ABA (American Birding Association) area list - I have to mentally subtract a couple of birds I saw in Florida that are on the state list but not on the ABA list.

I suspect you aren't at that level of listing yet!

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Response to semillama (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 10:28 AM

10. Is that different than the National Geographic Society's

Field Guide to the Birds of North America? That is the field guide I use most. I used to have another one that had a section in the back to write notes, but we lost that one when we moved and lost a bunch of stuff.

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:18 AM

11. Yes. It's a journal with all the North American bird species

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