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How to use iNaturalist

There are lots of ways to get involved with the Wild Ouseburn project, but one of most important and simple ways to get involved is to help gather records of the wildlife in the area. Whether you’re on your commute to work, going to the shops, walking your dog, sitting outside at the pub, or out wildlife watching – every single record helps protect the wildlife in the valley.

We’ll talk a bit more about why we need to record wildlife, and why wildlife records are important for the future of the Ouseburn in another blog soon, but for now we’d like to introduce you to iNaturalist.

iNaturalist is a global online platform to share information about biodiversity and learn about nature. It was setup to give people the opportunity to ‘understand and sustain biodiversity through the practice of observing wild organisms and sharing information about them‘.

It provides an incredible platform for sharing wildlife sightings through your mobile phone or computer, it can even provided help with identification with AI, and has a supporting community of naturalists who can help you out with identifications too!

We’ve set up a Wild Ouseburn project area on iNaturalist, which means that we can map and monitor all the sightings for the area in one place. It also means we can see what/ where needs extra recording effort.

It’s quick and easy to set up and use iNaturalist, and we’ve put together a quick guide for you to take the first steps. We look forward to seeing your wild encounters!

Step 1 – Download the free iNaturalist app

Head over to the App Store or Google Play, and search for ‘iNaturalist’. The app symbol is a green bird. Download the free app onto your device.

Step 2 – Create an account

If you’re creating a new account click ‘Sign Up’ (if you’ve already got an account simply Login). Make sure to tick the box which says ‘Yes, license my content so scientists can use my data’ – this means we will get all the information from your records.

Once you’ve added your Email, Username and created a Password, click Sign Up.

Step 3- Join the Wild Ouseburn Project

By joining the iNaturalist Wild Ouseburn project you can keep up-to-date with latest sightings and updates. To do this find the ‘Projects’ icon in the bottom right of your screen and click it. This will open a new screen with a search bar at the the top. Simply search ‘Wild Ouseburn’ and the project will appear. You can then join the project.

Step 4 – Head out and observe wildlife!

There are many different ways to record your wildlife sightings with the iNaturalist app, you can submit records straight from your phone camera (great for taking images as you go), you can also upload images from your Photo Library, or even Record Sound. You can submit sightings without any media, but we would recommend making sure to submit with some media on iNaturalist so that the records can be positively identified. If you’ve seen something and haven’t managed to capture any media, send us an email.

Step 5 – Identify

Once you’ve added your media you will see the screen above. This is the important bit, make sure that the date, time and location are correct. You can click on each to change them.

Below your image/sound you will see a small box that says ‘What did you see?’, this is where iNaturalist can help you identify what you’ve seen.

When you click on ‘What did you see?’, iNaturalist will do its best to identify your wildlife sighting, you can either select the ‘Genus’ (family group) if you’re not sure exactly what you’ve seen, or you can select the species if you’re confident of your identification. If you know what you’ve seen you can also type the species in the search box.

Once you’ve chosen your Genus or Species, simply click your choice. If you’re unsure what the species is, don’t worry! There is a community of experts on the other end to help with identification once it’s submitted.

Step 6 – Share your sighting

Once you’ve added your species, have a quick check over the date, time and location and then click share – congratulations! Your sighting will be a valuable contribution to the Wild Ouseburn project and will be displayed don the project map for you and others to see. Remember to check back to see updates on your species identification!

Fancy learning more about wildlife identification in Ouseburn? Come along to one of our Events.

Wetland Bird Surveys begin!
Wild Intrigue’s 2023