Observation without media

There seem to be some observations that have no photos or sounds attached. How do you do this? For example, if you want to document your first-heard white-throated sparrow of the fall, even if you weren’t able to record it.

Hi abigail, welcome to the Forum!

It depends what platform.you are using.
For instance, on Android:

First choose to add an observation

You will then have the option to add an observation with no media

Fill.in the details, and hit the check mark to save.

If you use iOS someone else can show you. If you want to upload on computer that’s also possible.


on desktop:


Although, doing this would have but few use cases, since you obviously are not going to get community ID or research grade.

To complete the trifecta, on iPhone:

Tap the “Observe” camera icon in the lower center:

Select “No Photo”:


Casual grade observations are not inferior to research grade observations.


I upload obs without media all the time; butterfly zipped past that I could recognise easily in flight, but didn’t have my camera on me, distinct bird call that I can hear in person but camera/phone couldn’t pick it up over the sound of traffic, etc.

I don’t care about getting a community ID or RG, these are observations designed to e.g. populate my personal life list or provide an important data point for a survey I’m doing.


Yes, @ourmikegeorge is spot on. Casual grade observations can be very useful for research.

Once you’ve demonstrated on iNat that you can reliably identify a species, if you don’t need to take a photo all the time. If you’re interested in a particular species, you can make many more casual observations than verifiable observations of that species. For many research uses, having 20 casual observations, made by someone who has shown that they know how to ID that species, is better than one research grade observation.

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