Distinguishing a live organism observation from evidence of an organism being here in the past

I’m looking for a way to distinguish an observation of a live organism vs evidence of an organism being here in the past.

By that I mean I want to filter out observations where the sighting was of only scat, animal track, feathers, bones, egg shell only, etc. vs the live organism.

Doesn’t look like there is an annotation for this, maybe there is a standard observation field?

I tried searching the forum, the closest I could find was https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/identify-observation-as-non-living/2326/15 but that doesn’t directly address this question.


Unless folks are adding value to “Observation Fields” &/or “Life Stage”, it’s difficult to sort between pictures of tracks/sign and actual pictures of the organism.

The way I normally filter out tracks/sign is by viewing an observation (any observation) of a feather, bone, set of tracks, etc. & clicking on “How was this Detected” under “Observation Fields”. There is a pop-up menu that appears and then I usually click on the second arrow in the “View:” menu, “-> Observations with this field”.
That should take you to this page: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?verifiable=any&place_id=any&field:How%20was%20this%20Detected%3F

At this point, you can filter out by place and/or organism. Seems kind of a workaround but it works. Also, this is the reason why adding value to observations is so helpful down the line for anyone who has the same query as you do. Whenever possible I try to add value by marking organisms’ alive/dead, how was this detected, likely cause of death, etc. observation fields. You can also filter out organisms by life stage, sex, and dead/living by clicking on any of the attributes in the “Annotations” box.


Last time I saw the topic come up (maybe in the Let’s Talk Annotations" thread), someone mentioned a common way to signal these is by using annotation Alive/Dead = Cannot Be Determined

Example convo: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/bird-pellets-and-eggshells/15248


That’s exactly what I was looking for thank you. The Annotations are more clear because they are all listed there, observation fields because you need to know what to search for first makes them harder to find, but now I know about “How was this detected” it seems perfectly suited here.

I guess that’s true most of the time, but corner cases exist like where I can’t tell if it’s dead or just sleeping, it’s a direct observation but still could be tagged as cannot be determined.

Feels awkward setting this value for others, by tagging how they detected the observation but this seems like it’s the only way I can mark someones feather observations as such so I can filter them from searches.

This only works so long as the contributor has left “Allow observation fields from” on “Anywone” and not changed it.

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