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

Learning About Birds 3D coverYou may be interested in the Learning about Birds ebook available here on the Handbook of Nature Study. If you have an Ultimate or Journey level membership, you have access to this ebook that covers every single bird included in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

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.

Leave a Reply to Cheryl Ramirez Cancel reply