Recognizing that there are no such things as right and wrong, here are some thoughts for what you might include in your field journal (and field notebook!). But remember, it’s your field journal so you can do what you want.
Fact: Careful observations and sketches help you really learn birds.
It’s all very well showing some of my notes from recent years (Part 2), when I’m an experienced birder, but what did my notes look like when I was a teenager? It’s pretty clear, however, that I wouldn’t have come close to winning any Young Birder of the Year field notebook competition!
A field notebook is, well, what it says: a notebook you carry in the field (in my case, 24/7 in my pocket, with 2 pens), where you can write down birds as you see them. It’s the raw data of your field journal.
Recently, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. More and more young birders have been leading bird walks. This is awesome and really helps enrich the young birder community, as well as the birding community as a whole.