I know who to look for because I keep track in a Backyard Bird Journal. It is a spiral-bound book that lets me document four consecutive years.
Each calendar day has a space to write specific sightings and weather information.
This is where I document nesting hummingbirds. March 3, 2014 there were two active nests: H1 and DR. The chicks hatched within 24 hours of each other. This year we found no nests in the yard. We have heard and seen recent fledglings, but they were hatched somewhere else.
The Journal also enables me to see patterns because four years of the same date are side-by-side. Here you can see that March 4th is typically when the Bewick’s wren are out comparing potential nesting sites. Bewick wrens build a nest.
|Entries for March 4, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015|
You can also see that March 4 was a day that I noted winter visitors–the hermit thrush, Oregon dark-eyed juncos and white-crowned sparrows–were still with us.
There is space for additional notes on every other page and at the end of the month. June has been busy with Cooper’s hawk nesting for the past several years. (You can also see that I don't enter data absolutely every day.)
A species listing, with four years of monthly data, at the back of the Journal provides easily accessed information on each bird species.
From small notations of observations, I know to expect the black-headed grosbeaks this month as they pass through my neighborhood.
While the hooded orioles should soon be arriving to spend the summer.
Occasionally, I have the thrill of noting something very unusual, like the sighting of an orange bishop.
I enter bird lists electronically through eBird.org, but this Backyard Bird Journal allows me to casually note who I saw that day and keep four-years of information handy at all times. I put this journal together for my own use (focused on Southern California species), but I have a limited number available for purchase. Purchase Backyard Bird Journal