Creating a Bird-Watcher's Journal

Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletin A-207


By Clare Walker Leslie

By Charles E. Roth

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ebook (Digital original)


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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 8, 1999. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Since 1973, Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletins have offered practical, hands-on instructions designed to help readers master dozens of country living skills quickly and easily. There are now more than 170 titles in this series, and their remarkable popularity reflects the common desire of country and city dwellers alike to cultivate personal independence in everyday life.



Many of us are looking for ways to connect better with nature — to learn its patterns, to help protect its inhabitants, to gain an understanding of what makes our own lives tick. Scientists since the dawn of the human mind have sought to know nature better, and to know their own selves better. Many of them went out with pen, parchment, paintbrush, and telescope to record their sightings. The nature journal has been the companion for every man, woman, child, and old sage with an insatiable curiosity about the natural world.

Creating a Bird-Watcher’s Journal is adapted in large part from Nature Journaling: Learning to Observe and Connect with the World Around You (Storey Books, 1998). Before we get down to the specifics of a bird-watching journal, let’s focus for a moment on nature journaling.

You won’t find the word journaling in your dictionary. It is a word we created as an action form of the noun journal. Simply put, nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you. That is the essence of the process.

Journaling can be done in a wide variety of ways, depending on the individual journalist’s interests, background, and training. Some people prefer to record in written prose or poetry, some do it through drawing or painting, others with photographs or tape recordings, and still others through musical notation. There are people with the training and inclination to record with mathematical precision and in scientific shorthand. Some like to incorporate the writings and thoughts of others to stimulate their own journaling. Many people use all or a combination of these techniques.

Begin Exploring

Journaling is your path into the exploration of the natural world around you and into your personal connection with it. How you use your journal is entirely up to you.

You can be as involved as is your interest. Are you a classroom teacher, a self-taught and curious naturalist, an artist who loves nature, a scientist who would love to draw nature, someone who finds in nature a place for healing, meditation, and connection?

Go find a piece of paper; it doesn’t matter what type or size. Find any pencil, marker, or drawing tool. Now open your eyes, take a deep breath, and ask yourself: “What is happening outdoors, this particular season, this time of day, and in this particular place where I live?” (You can be outdoors, or inside looking out.)

Draw a cloud, a bird flying by, a tree branch, ivy vines on a building wall, a potted plant, a garden flower. Don’t judge your drawing. You are not an artist yet. You are a scientist, simply recording what you see, in this moment in time.

Be very quiet, be very still. Slow your breathing and think only “bud,” “plant,” “bird.” After one minute or less, no more, write what you drew and go on to the next sighting, keeping it relevant to season, time of day, and place. You have begun nature journaling.

A Flexible Medium


On Sale
Jan 8, 1999
Page Count
32 pages

Clare Walker Leslie

Clare Walker Leslie

About the Author

Clare Walker Leslie is a nationally known wildlife artist, author, and educator. For more than 30 years, she has been connecting people of all ages to nature using drawing, writing, and observation of the outdoors. Her books include the bestsellers Keeping a Nature Journal and The Nature Connection, as well as The Curious Nature GuideNature Journal, and Drawn to Nature. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Granville, Vermont.

Learn more about this author