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My memory isn't so good, either.  I find I can keep a mental tally of  
about 8-10 species, but if I can't get them down on paper, when that  
next one comes along, something "drops out the back."

So, I keep a list going all the time, adding to it at slow times.   
Some techniques that might help--these are suggestions--if something  
works for you, great:

1.  Some of you would prefer a nice, neat little notebook.  I used  
to.  Kept losing it.

In Columbia we get "door mail."  These are ads printed on one side of  
a third of a sheet of paper left hanging on the door knob.  Back side  
is ideal for a list.  I stick in a few sheets (fit in pocket just  
fine), put a pen with them and am ready to go.

I jot date, place, time of arrival, temp and other weather info when  
I first get to a site.  I try to remember to record the leaving time,  
too.

2.  Some of you will balk at this, but...
This is when that four-letter code really comes in handy!  No way  
could I keep a decent list and see the birds around me if I had to  
write out full names (besides, I can't read my own penmanship).   
Printing four letters per bird makes it very easy.  Yes, sometimes I  
go blank trying to think of a code.  When that happens, I just jot  
four letters to clue me in later.

The code isn't that bad--and you can use your own if you like.  It is  
the translation when transcribing data that becomes the problem for  
some.  Can't remember what CARW was?  Context gives the clue.  What  
was seen/written down before/after it?  That will jog the brain.

3.  Forget the old tally marks system (you know, 4 vertical marks,  
then a diagonal = 5.)  That takes up a lot of time (a mark for each  
bird, even if you saw 8 at a time), and a lot of space.

Instead, keep your numbers in one of two ways--
a.  write the number of birds seen when you first see a species, then  
when you see more of that species, put a comma and write the number  
of birds seen on the second sighting, etc.  Add them when you're done.

b.  even better for a lot of folks is to write the first number, then  
when more of that species are seen, add in your head the first number  
and the new number, cross out the first, write the new total.  May  
take a little getting used to, but really speeds things up.

Bodacious birding,

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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On May 24, 2008, at 8:15 PM, Jo Ann Eldridge wrote:

> I was looking forward to hearing advice and suggestions on keeping  
> records of species plus numbers of birds when birding all day and  
> going from Conservation Areas to State Parks, etc.
>
> My memory is not good enough to keep those records in my head.


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