Journals and Field Notebooks may overlap but they can serve different purposes. Their common goal is to keep notes to document key points of our observations either for identification purposes or data collection. And this works pretty much for whichever field you are into, including, of course, birdwatching.
Considering now the birdwatching, whether using field notebooks or birdwatching journals, there are crucial details to take into account that won’t differ much. Things like the name of species, number of individuals, sizes, distinguishing features, behaviours, habitual movements, and unusual postures are information that is most likely documented in whichever tool people decide to use to register their observations.
When using field notebooks, birdwatchers typically register this information with less care in terms of handwriting and style, as long as it is clear. Field notebooks are also often more associated with scientific purposes.
On the other hand, journals give the great advantage of offering more creativity and originality. In other words, journals are more personal and people tend to write their experiences with greater care. As they do that, people create a sequence of experiences that can later be easily remembered.
From our experience, we tend to use field notebooks for keeping quick field notes while birding that we can later re-write with greater care on a birdwatching journal. On other occasions, just simply to preserve the journal and keep it safe from use in the field.
As for the birdwatching journals, we prefer to use them whenever we are having a quiet birdwatching walk, where we can manage to spend quality time outdoors observing birds and being creative describing their movements, calls or even postures and silhouettes.
Yet, regardless if you choose a field notebook or a birdwatching journal, the benefits are pretty much the same, as long as you dedicate some time writing the information and details of what you are observing so you can keep a memory for posterity.
Although we agree that journals are a more personal way of documenting the observations and that everyone should keep it the more convenient way without following any rules, we decided to create a birdwatching journal where we also give some guidance to what people should pay attention to.
Let us know whether you prefer a field notebook or a birdwatching journal to register your bird sights.