Jan 31, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, February 2018

Keep a Backyard Journal

A journal is a great way to keep track of the seasons, of arrivals and departures, seed consumption, activity level, all sorts of tidbits that you might find worth remembering in years to come.

A backyard journal helps you, the watcher, keep track of the bits and pieces of bird information gathered daily. I keep a little three-year diary on the kitchen table. It doesn't even get cleared off for dinner, because we might see something while we’re eating. The years are lined up on each page so that I can see at a glance what was happening on this date last year and the year before. It's a great way to keep track of the seasons, of arrivals and departures, of the bits and pieces.

Getting Started:

  • Get a journal that is easy to use. One with calendar dates on each page works best.
  • Keep a couple of pens clipped to its pages, and keep it open to today’s date.
  • Keep it near the window you most often use, along with your binoculars and field guide.

What to Track:

  • Species arrivals and departures
  • Bird behavior: who, what, where, why?
  • Advent of bird song, courtship, molting into breeding plumage
  • The temperature and weather that day
  • Anything else that grabs your eye

About Julie Zickefoose

Writer and nature artist Julie Zickefoose blogs at juliezickefoose.blogspot.com.

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