If you’re a birder, you want to keep a list of sightings when you bird watch. Your life lists should be kept in a bird watching journal.
A life list is a record of the species of birds you’ve sighted over time. Typically, the list is kept in a journal. Each entry notes the bird species, the date, location and any notes you want to add. Depending on your particular bird watching exploits, you can keep one global list or separate lists as you see fit.
For many bird watchers, one life list simply isn’t enough. So, how can you break down your lists? Here are a few ideas:
1. House Lists – A list of birds sighted around your home.
2. Yearly Lists – A list for each year you bird watch.
3. State Lists – A list for sighting by particular state.
4. Trip Lists – Journals for particular bird watching vacations or tours.
5. Wish Lists – A list of birds you haven’t seen, but hope to. You simply cross them off as sightings occur.
Computer Life Lists
You can purchase computer life list programs or use online variations. Each program is different, but most come in a checklist format. You enter information and the program spits out your list.
The problem with using computer programs is…well, the computer aspect. Unless you are willing to lug a laptop around with you, there is going to be a delay between sightings and your journal entries. Using a computer program is also troublesome if you want to keep a collection of sketches of particular species you’ve identified. For most birders, a computer list is a supplement to a good journal, not a replacement.
Bird watching is an extremely personal passion. If you’re just starting, you may think you don’t need to keep a life list. The problem with this approach, of course, is you will regret the decision if you later decide to do so. All those sightings will be gone with time…
If you’re going to start bird watching, make sure you keep a life list journal from the outset. As I like to say, “Preserve the experience!”