Something we’ve always lacked on is taking good field notes. But, in a concentrated effort in October (and hopefully beyond) we are trying to record as much information as we can while out birding. Keeping field notes helps to improve your birding but it is also valuable for conservation. Recording the when and where of birds, especially over time, can help land managers and conservation groups to know what is really happening.
Field notes are also valuable when a rare bird shows up. If you can’t get an adequate photo, a drawing and detailed description, especially from multiple birders, will improve the chances of the bird being officially counted. But even when a bird is common, good field notes provide long-lasting information about birds.
The American Birding Association offers a Field Notebook System which has a special pen and write-in-the-rain notebook.
Note: You don’t have to be an artist to draw birds in a field notebook. Of the Birdfreak Team, only Veery can draw (very well in fact) but even a scribbled drawing showing an important feature can help with later identification.