A question for maintaining a wildlife tracker

Hey friends! So I have a wildlife tracker (seen in photos below) that I’ve been keeping up with for a couple of years ago and I’ve never really ran into the problem I am now. For the most part I see animals 1 or 2 at a time, so my tracker looks like “2 snakes 08/23/23” with a more detailed written observation below. The thing is, today I saw a wild, free-roaming herd of over 100 American Bison, and a large town of Prairie Dogs, and I hate to put “100 bison, 50 prairie dogs, 2 lizards” because then it looks weird and inaccurate to me (even if it isn’t). I also hate the way it looks on my yearly tracker, because it’ll have 300+ deer throughout the year, but then 100+ bison from 1 day.

If you have a tracker, how do you track large herds? Do you just put 100 bison for 1 day and call it good, or do you have a better system? Thank you in advance!

The first photo is the basic month by month tracker I keep in my phone, the second is the yearly total for every animal I’ve seen so far in 2023.


i don’t keep a tracker outside of what i report to citizen science, and i don’t, personally, see any issue with having a large amount of reported individuals from one day… however, perhaps reporting it at 1 herd {100+ bison} and your yearly totals would otherwise be “Bison - {however many others you’ve seen individually} + 1 herd” so it would be differentiated and in the yearly totals counted as one unit.

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The eBird help center has a good article, How to Count Birds, that has many tips that are applicable for counting large groups of any taxa.

Is your qualm with the inherent loss of precision in estimating large groups or because you dislike the unevenness of the species totals? If the former, perhaps you will find some things in the above-linked article helpful. If the latter, some species are just more abundant (either overall or in different seasons, habitats, etc.). Some days you just see 15,000+ Lesser Scaup and only 2 American Wigeon (see checklist).

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That’s true, I didn’t think of that! It’s not really an issue scientifically (or otherwise) speaking, just a weird personal dislike lol. But thank you!

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Ummmm… what IS a wildlife tracker?

I have a couple of pictures in my post of what it looks like. It’s just a file that I use on my phone & in google docs to keep track of the wildlife I’m seeing and I’ll make observations (like where I saw them, what time, what the weather conditions were like, what the animal was doing, etc.).