6 Species of Bird in 1 Photo: To upload or not?

I’m not sure what to do with this. 6 probably identifiable bird species in 1 photo. Is it useful or a distraction? It’s taken from a distance, but I thought it might be interesting to see multiple species sharing the same area in close proximity.

I guess it could be uploaded and duplicated 5 times and count for 6 observations.

I have some other photos of multiple mammals, but thought I would check here first if people think these sorts of observations are too much clutter. Recommendations?

definitely a cool picture to share with nature buffs! just not sure iNaturalist is the place for it. if it were my photo, I would duplicate/crop to report each individual species


Definitely upload it! If you create only one observation using this photo, you should chose one bird to be the focal individual, since the obs gets only a single ID. If it were me, I would probably duplicate it for each species, but it’s totally up to you.




I agree with everyone who suggests uploading it and then duplicating the observation 5 times so there are 6 separate observations. In each one you can describe in words which bird this particular observation represents. Bonus point for at least one of the observations to link to all the others.


If, for some reason, I want to upload a photo with more than one individuals, I’ll often put a magenta circle around it. I use Photoshop to do it but you can probably do it in other software programs.

Not required, of course. But an option you might be interested in using.

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I would suggest creating the best crop you can for each species in the photo. Then create an observation initially with just the full photo, and duplicate it for each of the 6 species. Then edit each observation, and add the relevant crop as the top photo for each species. That way you have indicated which bird is the focus, and included the full photo, without adding extraneous marks. (Unless you work quickly, though, you may get some initial IDs before the cropped versions are added. If that takes an observation sideways irretrievably, you can always re-duplicate that one to start the ID process over, and delete the first one.)


Thanks to everyone who commented! I decided to go ahead and upload.

@jdmore I included the full photos rather than crops. Crops would have been very small and taken a lot of extra time. Also, there were three photos, since the birds moved slightly, and the extra photos will help with ID. I also noted the location of each bird specified in the observation so that was clear, hopefully accomplishing something similar to the crop idea or the draw-a-circle idea.

Here is one of the observations if anyone wants to see how it works.


Thank you. I just learned the other day that you can see all observations linked to a photo by clicking the small “i” button under the photo, next to the CC and flag icons.


You can prepare 6 variants of this photo with a white dot near the each next species and upload this variants with marked birds.

Making crop is less than a minute but can help iders significantly and save much more time.


You can use the full photo(s) on each observation with the description to get something up in a hurry, and then add the crop (or circled/arrowed, etc) version as additional photo on each observation later.

E.g. Only after creating this observation did I know that the 2 animals within were different species (it was dark when I took the photos). So I made a duplicate observation with the wide shot and then added additional crops and circles to each.

If you’re using the Android app, you can even edit the photos in app, so it’s fast.


i too would just make six observations out of the photo :) While cropping is nice, it isn’t mandatory. I don’t have an easy way to do it in the field, so usually don’t crop. Someday perhaps iNat will allow for annotating on the uploaded photo.

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Cropping is a courtesy to the people you hope will ID the bird.

For people who have slow internet, it can be agonisingly slow to zoom in and see what are we looking at. Some (not yours!) photos look a blurry mess, but zoomed in show useful detail. Not everyone can / will take time to find out. They may simply click to next.


That is a fact, many photos with distantly placed object stay unided even with clear id, some for years.

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Yep! No one’s saying crop (or circle/arrow/tag/etc) is required, but it’s definitely considerate.


I generally crop every photo, unless it’s framed perfectly (a rarity for me). I’m more of a photographer than a naturalist, so I don’t just crop. I sort, geotag, process, check time, add metadata, export to jpeg (often multiple times after checking errors or missing items), and upload—and the process for a single day’s photos takes several hours for me.

Photos of organisms that are blurry, too indistinct to make out, too far away, too dark, etc.—I don’t upload them.

Understood about the people with low bandwidth. I have been leaving some of the organism’s environment in the photos I upload most of the time. I know putting the organism in its environment is not one of iNat’s primary aims, but I think it could be useful to people. The photos are high resolution, so they’re zoom-able if you’ve got the bandwidth.

I realize that some people may simply skip photos in which the organism is small or far. I try to balance that generally by putting the most closeup and cropped photo of an observation in first position in the carousel.

In this case, the birds are so distant that the crops would be too small, and they’re about all the same size, so I didn’t think it would be worth it. And it does take more than a few seconds, as someone else mentioned. It requires, for me, exporting some 21 different jpegs for the set of 3 photos and 6 birds, cropping 3 for each bird and including one full scene. Like I mentioned, I’ve added text to specify which bird the observation is and its location. If zooming is too much for some people, I hope that others with bandwidth will take a look. I guess if nobody made the id with time, I’d scrap it or try the extra crops.

Again, this is a special case, not a movement against cropping or making it easier for people to id. We want to make it nice and easy for people to view and take the time to identify. Anyway, that’s why I included the link, so people could see how this instance works.


Microsoft paint can do that. You do not need anything fancy.


and native photo editing on both iPhone and Android at least have a pen tool, so you can hand-draw a circle or arrow.

I see that. For that situation, indeed the circles and crops make it very easy everyone!