Keeping a Bird Life List

10 Ideas for a Bird Life List @HBNatureStudy

Bird watching is an active sport. With each new bird you identify you are inspired to get out and look some more! The life list is a simple way to not not only encourage your young birder but also to help them view birding and nature study as a life long habit. Creating a life list is an extension of your time outdoors that helps your child learn how science can be documented and analyzed over a period of time.

Keeping a life list of birds is a simple project. It can be kept in a variety of ways as shown below.

Bird Life List 10 Ideas @handbookofnaturestudy

Ways to Keep a Bird Life List

  1. On paper – in a journal dedicated to keep track long term.
  2. In a book – there are log books specifically created for keeping a life list. Here is the one we have used: Bird Log Kids: A Kid’s Journal to Record Their Birding Experiences.
  3. Back of a field guide – in the back of many bird field guides there is a place to record your life list.
  4. On the pages of a field guide – I have seen people make a note with pen next to the photo or the illustration of each bird they observed right in the field guide.
  5. Notebook page- there are notebooking pages from various sources (including the one below) that you print and keep in a binder as an on-going record.
  6. Online – there are websites specifically dedicated to keeping a birds life list (like e-bird which is an app for your phone as well).
  7. Online- I have discovered several people who create a Pinterest board sharing their life list (like this one Bird Life List).
  8. Computer spreadsheet – some people take their field notes and consolidate them on a spreadsheet on the computer.
  9. Checklist – Find and print a bird list for your local area. Use this as a checklist as you observe each bird, recording your observation data right on the checklist.
  10. Your own cards – Create a field guide card for each bird on your life list (use my printable and idea).

Special Activity:Life List Printable

Bird Life List Printable
I have attempted to create a Life List Printable that will be flexible for you to use in your nature notebook. Your list can be as detailed as you wish. Things to include: Date and Time of Day. Location. Gender. Weather. Bird Sounds. Number of birds seen.

Additional resources:
Printable Checklists by Country or Region (updated the link with one that should get you started)
Bird Nature Journal Ideas – from my archives

Outdoor Hour Challenge Bird Nature Study Index of Challenges @handbookofnaturestudy

If you would like help with your bird study, make sure to check out the “Birds” tab at the top of the website. This page has a complete listing of all bird related challenges, printables, and newsletter dates. I know you will find it helpful for future bird study!
Also I am highly recommending that you purchase the Bird Bundle from as a great supplement to your study of birds using the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Note: These are affiliate links.

All About Birds Basic Study Notebooking Pages
Birds of North America Notebooking Pages

Use code discount5 to save $5 on any purchase $10 or more from the Shop. (This does not include membership purchases.)



  1. Cheryl Ramirez says:

    This is the ONLY nature study item that I have done consistently over the years. I have made my own forms and jot down the name location and date of where the bird was seen. I love birds! I want to show you a page of my list but I don’t see where I can upload it. No matter, I may change it to add a space for latin names, I like that!

    • Barb McCoy says:

      Keeping a life list is a project that over time makes such an impact on your understanding of the birds in your world. I love looking at my lists.

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