Making multiple observations of the same organism(s) when it has undergone a notable change

Hello! I had a question regarding best practices for sharing noteworthy changes in an organism. Would posting the same organism/organisms multiple times be considered duplicates, even if it has significantly changed since the last time it was shared?

For example, I recently found a bird’s nest with only one egg in it. Today, the nest has two more eggs in it (now three in total) that weren’t there when I posted my first observation. Would I just update the previous observation with a new photo, or make a new one since there are two new birds here? If I am able to get a photo of the baby birds when the eggs hatch, what would I do then? Would this be considered a duplicate observation or is it worth making a new one since they would have entered a new life stage?


These’ll be separate observations. These wouldn’t be considered duplicates since they’re observed at different times. It’s best not to attach them as the same observation for some of the reasons you mention (e.g. tracking different life stages)

Some people “link” them together by adding all the related observation URLs in the notes section or by using an observation field.

Here’s the official Help page description:

What is an observation?

Observations are the basic units of iNaturalist. An observation records an encounter with an individual organism at a particular time and location. This includes encounters with signs of organisms like tracks, nests, or things that just died. You should make separate observations for each separate critter you encounter. iNaturalist provides a place to add this information along with associated text, photos, and tags. If you revisit an organism, such as returning to a plant when it’s in bloom for additional photographs, you should make a separate observation because it was observed on a different date.


Thank you for the feedback! I’ll go ahead and post it then. :)


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