iNaturalist alerts for target species

Is it possible to request that iNaturalist notifies you if specific/target organisms are detected in a certain area? For example, a locally extinct species showing back up or new invasive species that is spreading into new states. Could we get alerts if those organisms are detected in real time? If so, how do I sign up for these?

Look here on your home page :)


Note, however, that observations of subscribed taxa will only appear on your dashboard if the observation has been IDed to that taxon level by the observer upon upload, but not if the ID is subsequently refined later.
E.g., if subscribed to Lobivia, observations will not show up if the initial ID was Cactaceae.
Please correct me if I’m wrong.


@hardinherp Welcome to the forum!
I’m not really in favour of doing that. Subscribing, as mentioned above, is one thing, but broadcasting it will likely draw more people than is good for the organism to the area.
I don’t know if it does have that effect, but I feel there is something wrong about the whole thing. Simply my opinion, that’s all.

Thank you for the help.

I suppose you could also just save search links and check them frequently or make a “personal” collection project for some area/species combo/s and then see if the total observations in it have increased. If they do, you could then check the specific observations.


These alerts are available in eBird. But, some people don’t post a rare or sensitive species right away to avoid a bird getting mobbed. There are mixed opinions about it. Some people feel like birds should be “enjoyed” by all. Some don’t post so they are the only ones who get to record it.

I sometimes hesitate to post something like a nesting bird. I have gotten flack from some local birders about it. A couple of winters ago I found a great horned owl nest. That’s a prized find especially for photographers. I told a local naturalist who works in the park where the nest was located about the nest and told her I was going to monitor it. I had experience doing that from participating in a raptor nest survey for several years for that park system. And, it wasn’t just the sensitive nature of the find that I took into consideration. The area where the nest was located was difficult to walk to across a rough field. It was the middle of winter. The parking area was very small. I felt like the suburban residents nearby wouldn’t like a crowd of people in their neighborhood.

I sometimes only tell a small group of birders about a sensitive find. Our group is based on trust. If the leader of the group tells us not to post something for a month, we do that. She’s the local naturalist I mentioned earlier. She is a very respected birder/naturalist.

The eBird website doesn’t have obscured locations - which may be something they want to think about.

I know there is a dragonfly survey here in Ohio that uses iNaturalist. Some people post obscured locations for sensitive/rare species. I don’t feel like I am missing out by not being able to go to these places. I have only been contributing to that survey for a couple of years. If I build up some trust with some of the other participants, maybe one of them will take me to a sensitive area. That would be great. But, for now, I am content to go out and try to find them myself. I like to see my species count go up, but it is only because I enjoy finding new things. I am not that competitive. And, I would rather find species in new areas so the database can be expanded. (Last year I found an uncommon species in a county where it hadn’t been recorded.) And, the survey is working on a new field guide for the state of Ohio that will use the iNaturalist data. So, I want to contribute to that.


Actually it was birds I was thinking about, due to most of the things you have said. There was a rare warbler seen in Winnipeg a year or two ago (I learned about it from the Newspaper), and I decided not to go and try to find it.

That’s correct.

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