What qualities does an observation need to become observation of the day?

The observations of the day tend to be either new to iNaturalist or new species or really interesting/unique pictures and several times I really try to take good pictures but it seems to be very difficult and I was wondering what sort of qualities the people who choose the observation of the day are looking for and how they find them.


Favoritism. Pretty sure.


Only heard about checking those that already have some faves. There’re thousnds of observations uploaded so finding one from one speific user is hard and random. You can just keep doing good pictures, at the end they shouldn’t have any labels to be good for you or other people.


If by favoritism you mean people “favoriting” observations, then sure. If you mean they make it unfair and only look at certain people when picking observations, then definitely not. They’ve made it clear a couple of times that, for Observation of the Day, they pick from photos that are “favorited”. You can favorite photos by clicking the little star on the observation. If people seem to be getting special treatment and being picked more often, it’s likely because they are known for their photos and have people following their accounts on iNat, which makes it more likely for their observations to get several favorites and therefore more likely to show up on the list of observations the iNat staff looks at.

For a more direct answer to @tripleaxle’s question, good or interesting observations (usually good photos, interesting behavior, or rare species/sightings) garner more attention than “standard” observations. Personally, I often get bored and browse random species or recent uploads, favoriting nice photos or interesting species (I find I tend to favorite endemics more than anything else). If getting more attention in that regard is your goal, then I suggest sharing good observations you get to groups like this forum or the Discord server… but it’s worth emphasizing that iNaturalist is certainly not a photo-sharing site (even less so than eBird), so if getting your photos noticed and really appreciated is what you’re after, I recommend things like Instagram and Flickr. Hope this helps!


Not sure, but the “favoritism” (as in people adding it to their “favorites”) is certainly not it.

I had an observation marked as “Observation of the Day” a while back and no-one had ever added it to their favorites. Indeed, many of the ones in my area that have made it as “Observation of the Day” are still in “needs ID” status and don’t have any “favorite” votes.

It seems to mainly be a) what catches the mod’s attention, b) a decent quality image, and c) something that’s not very commonly seen on iNat, but there are exceptions to each of those criteria.

Appropriate tags (making it easier to find for people looking for specific genera or in specific areas) might also help.

I meant like some staff or curator comes along something they like, and they just choose it to be the observation of the day. I guess by definition favoritism, although similar. Was the wrong word to use.

Yep! I suggested observations from others twice.
One, the first Tamil Longwing on the site, actually made it as an observation of the day.
I had a staff member tell me when he was searching for an observation of the day, one of his starting points were which observations had been favorited by many users.

Also, you can just suggest them. That’s what I did (that Tamil Lacewing only has 6 favorites)

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Someone could have suggested it.

I straight up contacted them to suggest an observation for a future observation of the day.

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