No bird watcher is complete without his or her bird watching journals. When you go bird watching, you need to keep your life list.
The Life List
If you are or become an avid bird watching enthusiast, you're going to need to keep records. The reason for this is you want to keep a running list of the various bird species you've seen. Since there are a zillion species, the list can become quite long. Frankly, it becomes a life long project that is very enjoyable. Trust me, you'll start planning vacations and trips around it. A business trip will soon evolve into a chance to see new species.
Part and parcel to your bird watching life list is your journal. Some bird watchers combine these two while others keep them separate. The bird watching journal is used to fill out your sightings. Information kept in the journal includes things like where you were, whom you were with, the weather conditions, the lighting, time of day and your overall impressions from the sighting.
When keeping your journal and lists, you are going to have sightings of species you've seen previously. Most bird watchers will add such sightings to their journals, but not their life lists. The reason for this is there may be peculiar or significant factors in the sighting. Perhaps the bird is not typically found in the area in question or perhaps it is exhibiting some unique characteristic.
When it comes to bird watching, there is no greater joy then sighting a bird you have never seen before. Often called "life birds", the sighting can be added to your life list and is a feather in your cap. When you first start watching birds, you'll obviously have a lot of new sighting. As time passes, however, they will become less frequent and you will come to enjoy and value them even more.
Bird watching is an addictive hobby. Part of the thrill is watching your life list grow and reading through your journal of sightings.