Birder’s Diary

Main screen of Birder’s Diary (click to open).

Birder’s Diary is a comprehensive listing program that allows birders and naturalists to maintain detailed records of their sightings. The current version is 4.1.62 which was released in January 2017. This program supports many taxonomic lists including ABA, Clements, BOU, AOU, IOU, dragonflies and damselflies, butterflies, whales & dolphins, moths, and many more. This program allows users to capture unlimited user-defined data about each sighting and then report on this data in a myriad of ways including multi-species bar charts, single species histograms, and add media (photos/videos/documents) to each observation.

Birder’s Diary is aimed at the serious birder/naturalist whom wants to keep track of all possible observations, explore and compare data, and keep track of a multitude of life lists.

Birder’s Diary is offered as a basic version ($29 one time fee) or an advanced version ($69 one time fee). Bird taxonomy lists are additional and range from $26 to $79. Special bundles for the core package and taxonomic lists are offered. A 30 day fully functional trial is offered at no cost. If you refer a customer to Birder’s Diary and they purchase the program, the new customer gets 20% off everything and you, the referrer, get a $40 credit at the on-line store to use for any purchase.

Installation of Birder’s Diary was easy. A wizard guides the user during installation of the program. Update notifications are provided, and the program will help you get the latest version installed on your machine.

Taxonomic Support

Birder’s Diary supports a large number of taxonomic lists for birds as well as other mammals, plants, insects, etc. Each taxonomic list is thoroughly checked before being released to the users. Many of the non-bird taxonomic and checklist focus on species in North America (NA). The table below compares eBird and Birder’s Diary.

Nov 19, 2016  eBird Birder’s Diary
Birds Clements 2016 Clements 2016
IOC 6.3 (August 2016)
ABA 2016
BOU 2016
AOU 2016
RAOU 2008
Butterflies No Yes – NA, Mexico, & UK
Herps (Amphibians and Reptiles) No Yes – NA
Mammals No Yes – NA
Plants No Yes – NA
Other eBird only focuses on birds Dragonflies and Damselflies (NA & UK)
Cetacea of the world
Moths (NA)
Freshwater Fish (NA)
Cacti (NA)
Mushrooms (Colorado)
Trees (NA)
Fix lists No Yes – Individual species can be editing via the THING editor
 Notes Includes additions such as:
Identifiable Sub-species Group
Tax lists for birds are heavily QC-ed and cleaned before being released. Probably has the best bird taxonomy of all.

Spuh, slash, etc. all can be added using the THING editor

Integration with eBird

Birder’s Diary handles data exchange with eBird very well.

Birder’s Diary 4.1.62 supports import of eBird Download my Data (aka all your observations), eBird Individual checklists and exports to eBird’s record format. Import of all eBird Observations is a straight-forward process. As the import progresses, the program will ask the user for input if a species is mismatched. Any future references to the same species during the same import function are handled in the same fashion as the first instance.  As part of the import process, Birder’s Diary handles the locations extremely well. Using built-in information and data from the eBird All Data file, Birder’s Diary automatically assigns any new location to country, state, and county. This results in a very clean location structure. Adding a subset of 15,993 records took about four minutes to complete.

Importing of eBird individual checklists is easy. The user needs to specify which taxonomy list and birder is to be used and, if the location does not match, create a new location, assign a parent location or match it is an existing location. Species mismatches are handled in the same fashion as the eBird All data import.

Birder’s Diary allows users to export eBird compatible checklists using the record format. Required eBird protocol information is entered after the user selects records to be exported.

Data Entry

Before users can start entering observations, locations will need to be created. Although you can report at the country and state level without creating a new location. Adding a new location is easy using the location manager. For each location you will need to specify a parent location, which could be a country, state, or county.

Data entry window in Birder’s Diary (click to open)

Entering observations can be accomplished via keyboard entry or via checklist. Smart search is supported in both cases as is voice data entry. Birder’s Diary supports location specific checklists. These are checklists based on past observations at the selected locations. Just check the check box when selecting checklist entry. Keyboard entry supports common name, scientific name and banding code. In addition, Birder’s Diary recognizes many alias names. As part of the data entry process you will need to select the appropriate checklist(s) and set a location filter. The latter limits the list of birds to those recorded for geographic regions  and helps with the smart search feature. Additional information such as min/max count, date/time, location, notes, photos/media files can be added to each observation. Users can specify an unlimited number of user defined fields (including ones having their own drop down list) to record additional information.  Selected fields such as time can be set to a single value so all your records have the exact same time-date stamp.  As a user you can configure your data entry fields to match the way you want to enter the information. The Sightings Entry Review window to the right of the Sightings Entry window displays all entered species. As needed you can edit the submitted data via this overview window. A neat feature is that by using the Tab key on your keyboard you can quickly move from field to field. This helps greatly with data entry and pretty much eliminates the mouse. Overall data entry is very easy and very fast.

Birder’s Diary supports a wide variety of import formats including Avisys, BirdBase and text file (comma delimited). The latter is very flexible and scans your heading row for the correct columns.

Mobile version

Birder’s Dairy does not have a mobile version, but the program accepts data from a large variety of mobile platforms, including eBird, Bird Journal, Birdwatchers Diary or any CSV files with headers will do. This package has one of the most versatile import routines to handle data from other programs.


Birder’s Diary provides several forms of reports and charts. Lifer bars can be displayed as part of the background and are automatically updated. These background lifer bars can be configured for any location (country, ABA area, state, county, or yard) with a selected taxonomy list.

Two charts are offered, a single species and a multi-species abundance chart. Both charts can be configured for a single location, e.g. state, county or your yard. The single species abundance chart also lists all observations for a selected bar on the chart. The multi-species abundance chart lets you configure the chart to display information by time period.

Birder’s Diary comes with several pre-configured reports for sightings, checklist, life lists, special reports and trip reports. Each of the provided reports can be tailored to the user’s needs by changing the taxonomy list, time period, location, and results columns to display. This new configuration can be saved as a new report. Thus, users can easily create many specialized reports that suite their needs. Checklist may include a basic checklist, 7-day checklist for a location, or species not seen. In many of these reports, you can highlight lifers or new year birds. Of great interest are the trip reports. Birder’s Diary allow you to create a multi-day trip and generate various reports detailing your trip ranging from a basic summary to full details by location. Reports can be saved as PDF, HTML, RTF, Text and directly into an email.

People actively keeping track of their ABA list will appreciate Birder’s Diary ABA reporting capabilities. The report is detailed and include sub-areas, life list by state, and annual lists.

In addition to these reports, a special module exist for Big Year/month/day counts. The top 5 events for each category are displayed on the screen, but the top 100 can be exported to a text file and a special report with all species seen can be displayed in your web browser.

The table below compares eBird and Birder’s Diary reporting. Both programs offer similar list and charts, but Birder’s Diary allow more customization options to refine the information displayed. eBird has a good series of maps, which are being incorporated in Birder’s Diary. When it comes to special reports, big day adventures and trip, Birder’s Diary offers a great selection of reporting tools.

Report eBird  Birder’s Diary
Life List
World Life/Year/Month Any time period
Continent Life/Year/Month Any time period
Country Life/Year/Month Any time period
State Life/Year/Month Any time period
County Life/Year/Month Any time period
Location Life/Year/Month Any time period
ABA Region Life/Year/Month Any time period
ABA Ticks Life/Year/Month Any time period
Yard Totals “competitive” yard birding Yes
Charts Multiple species abundance Multiple species abundance
Single species frequency/group size/average/abundance/high count/totals Single Species Abundance
Species  Species
All-time First/Last Region/County/Hotspot/IBA Via single species abundance chart
Big Year/Day/Month Yes, year/month/day for any location.
Compare lists Yes
Checklist (observations for a single date/time/location) Location Yes
Checklists (printable) Location/Hotspot Yes; very customizable and color coded.
Trip reports Yes

Noteworthy Features

Birder’s Diary has been around for over 20 years and includes various noteworthy features, including:

A sightings comparison report that allows users to select two sets of observations (e.g same location, but different time periods) and determine which species are common in both sets and which are unique. Such a feature is handy when comparing birdathon years or Christmas bird counts for a sector.

The THING editor (aka species editor) is for updating or adding new species such as Rock Pigeon (Feral), spush’s, hybrids, etc. This feature is for the advanced user with an interest taxonomy.

User defined fields (UDF) are well supported in Birder’s Diary. With UDFs users can add additional information to their observations. For example, you can create a field for breeding code, heard/seen only, etc. These fields will be added to the checklist and keyboard entry forms, as well as various reporting options.

The Language Region Editor and Language Region Names Editor are very handy if you want to amend the standard bird names with names in another language or add a local name for a species.

The Checklist Editor is an advanced feature in Birder’s Diary. Users use this feature to maintain and create new checklists. This feature makes it easy to maintain the entire world’s worth of checklist data for many species and subspecies or just a local checklist for a yard.

From the Vendor

Celebrating 22 years this year!

Quick Start Guide that shows you how to use Keyboard and Checklist entry modes effectively as well as the video that does the same, if you prefer videos.

Birder’s Diary alerts you when you have seen a new World Lifer, Location Lifer or Annual Lifer. Users really like this.

Reconcile Wizard is a must have feature these days. It assists in making the tough decisions when updating versions of taxonomic lists and dealing with splits/lumps/additions and deletions. It turns a once-hated annual chore into a much easier task. Birder’s Diary has spent a good deal of time creating a very useful wizard for this task.

Product Support!!!  On one come close to delivering the customer satisfaction that I have always provided year in and year out. This is a big issue for me and one that I take so very seriously.

Last updated: February 6, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 The Test Garden