I uploaded a lot of the same species - would like an idea of how to proceed most usefully for the site

Over the weekend, I encountered a large number of unfamiliar birds - raptors - flying high and circling around. I took as many photos as I could, but I’m still relatively new to photography and find capturing birds in flight a significant challenge.

When I came to upload them to iNat, i faced a problem - I’m no raptor expert, so I didn’t know why/how many different species I had captured. Additionally, Since there were so many, I was not able to keep track of what birds i had and hadn’t photographed. In the end I had a few hundred miscellaneous shots of birds that may or may not be different species, and may or may not be the same bird.

I decided to comb through the photos and upload the best, and I decided to upload a new observation for each ‘burst’ of shots my camera took. I don’t know if different bursts were the same or different birds, but shots within a burst have to be the same bird since I was tracking it.

Most of the observations were identified as the Black Kite (So far it looks as if there were 3 different species in the mix, with the majority of the photos i took being the Black Kite), and I’m not sure if i should put them into a single observation now that someone knowledgeable on raptor identification has identified them (Since all were taken at the same time of day at the same place, but maybe multiple birds), or leave them separate (Maybe multiple observations of the same bird, no way to be sure.)

Obviously I intend to keep species separate, but for the ~10 black kite observations, should they be left as 10 or grouped as 1?

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You can do either one. Grouping them or posting each individual are both good options.


I nearly always post individuals separate, excepting for when there is a stupidly large amount of individuals that I know are the same species.


Great question. If in doubt, keep them separate. As an identifier, it’s more frustrating to get two different species coming in as one observation.

When you know they’re the same species at the same location, there’s the observation field “Count” that you can use to record the number of individuals on your observation.

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I always group them if they were at the same (close) site and are of the same age stage. Sometimes I post youngs or male/female separate. But curators say you better post all individuals separate.

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I did that too at times, but am no longer doing it as it is bad practice. … What will happen to my group observations, if the taxon is split and i lumped the two new taxa into one observation? What if it were two different subspecies on migration?

If you see two subspecies you post them separately, of course. That’s why I said - everything different is in own observation. And truly you can’t post everything separately, for me it would mean photographing every tree, every bush, every bird, even if there were 20+ or a hundred. When I go out I make photos of every single species if there’s no reason not to do it, and making photos of every individual is hard to describe how hard to do, esp. with plants when you don’t really know where one individual ends, and with high quantity of each species in any area.


An iNat observation is a record of an encounter with an individual organism (which is somewhat controversial, I know, but that’s how they are defined) so it’s best to not put multiple photos of different individuals of the same species in the same observation.

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