Observations of Feathers/Nests/Footprints

When identifying birds I see many observations which contain just a photo of a feather or footprints. When I see a photo of an egg then I add the Life Stage annotation, however, there doesn’t appear to be a way to annotate these indirect species observations.
Is there a feature I am missing for annotating these observations? Or should there be a new annotation or flag for these types of observations?
Thank you.

Hi, welcome to the Forum!

Some people will add the annotate Alive: Cannot Be Determined as a roundabout way to indicate that the animal is not present.
You can also add an Observation Field, which are user-generated and found on the lower right of the Observation page. You can’t get to them from the Identify page as far as I’m aware.

I’d also recommend joining a Project like Found Feathers, where you can add relevant observations of feathers. These projects have active identifiers who will appreciate your bringing these observations to their attention.
A search of “tracks” also brings up some nice Projects.

Just so you know, the Forum Feedback section is meant to be feedback about the forum itself. Don’t worry though, one of the @mods can move your post for you :)


Thank you. I have been adding “Alive: Cannot Be Determined” as a way around it too. I will start adding to relevant projects as well.
I will investigate adding an Observation Field for my projects.

1 Like

You can! It is under annotations.

I was referring to Observation Fields ;)

1 Like

There are observation fields, and they might become an annotation at some point.


In addition to the above talk about projects, annotations, and observation fields, I want to add that indirect evidence is considered acceptable for an observation:

What is an observation?
[…]This includes encounters with signs of organisms like tracks, nests, or things that just died.

From the help page.

So you can identify these observations in the same way as any other. For feathers or bird’s eggs, you can identify it as Aves, or as the family or species if you can distinguish it. For footprints you can identify as Animalia or a more specific order/family/etc if you can see that it’s a hoof or paw or whatever.


Observation fields are available in the annotations! tab It’s in @allycouch’s screenshot.


I am a huge fan of Found Feathers!

In my ongoing quest to coax Unknowns to an ID (hopefully RG), I have added quite a few Observations to that project and some of the folks there have IDed things for us.

For nests and eggs there are a couple of Projects. I usually recommend https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/eggs-nests-n-america. (I haven’t joined–yet–just because I seem to have joined quite a few Projects in a short time and I’m putting myself on an iNat Project diet.)

I’m not familiar with all the Projects, of course, but a search should turn up help with most “indirect” Observations: tracks, bones, scat, etc.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.