Skip to content

Import, how-to

If you already have records in a digital format, they can usually be imported to Bird Journal, avoiding the effort of typing them out again.

To import records you'll need to use the desktop app.

First, gather the records you wish to import into Bird Journal as a file. This is typically either as a CSV (comma separated text file), XLS (Excel 2000 and later) or XLSX (Excel 2007 and later) file.

See also:

Exporting records from BirdTrack
Exporting records from eBird
Exporting records from Wildlife Recorder

If your records are in a custom format, then they will need to be modified to match the layout of one of the supported formats. For the UK we recommend using the Wildlife Recorder format and elsewhere we recommend using the eBird record format.

Download Wildlife Recorder template
Download eBird Record Format template

Download the appropriate template and modify a copy of your records to match the structure of the template. If you don't have the required information for a column, then just leave it blank - Bird Journal is fairly flexible about what you need. If you have scientific name, but only together as a single field, then just leave Genus/Species/Subspecies columns blank. Bird Journal will match against the common name, and allow you to confirm which species you mean if no matches were found.

Once you have a suitable file with your records, it can be imported into Bird Journal. Press the Tools button and select Import.

The Import screen will then open.

Select the format of the records you are importing. Note that if you do not see the format you wish to use, it is most likely not installed. To install it, first visit the Library screen, find the Record Format that you wish to use, and press Install. Bird Journal current has import support for Bird Journal, eBird, BirdTrack, Wildlife Recorder & AviSys.

Next, locate the file to import by pressing the Browse button. You might need to change the file extension if you don't see the file you're looking for:

Double check the other options are sensible (if enabled, that varies depending on the format), then press Next.

If there were any problems importing, you'll see a list of errors. Otherwise you'll proceed to the next step, allowing to review and match any unknown items.

Bird Journal will match text in the imported file with the names of locations, species and properties in your journal. Where possible, Bird Journal will do this automatically, however there may be cases (especially if you already have records in your journal) where it is not sure what you would like to do. For example, Cambridge in an imported file, may refer to Cambridge in the UK or Cambridge in the US.

To complete the import, all of the unknown items must be matched. As unknown items are matched they turn grey.

For species, it is required to match to a species already known to Bird Journal. Be sure to install all taxonomies you need from the library first, e.g. Birds of the World. If the library doesn't contain items you need, then consider creating a custom taxonomy for those species.

Locations can be matched to existing locations or new locations can be created. When creating new locations Bird Journal needs to know the "parent location" to create the new location within, e.g. the county or state. It is possible to match multiple locations at once using the Match Multiple Locations as New button.

Properties can be matched to existing properties, ignored, or new properties can be created. When creating new properties be sure to select the best type of property for the values used - options are Textbox, Checkbox & Drop-down list. New properties can also be assigned to each entry, or to each observation depending on whether the values are different for each observation. Make sure to think about this a little and set the correct value.

Once all unknown items have been matched you can press the Import button in the bottom right corner, and the records will be imported. They will then sync and be available from all other Bird Journal apps signed in to the same account.

Sometimes you'll do an import and notice some things you'd like to change. There are currently no bulk-delete or import undo features, but we have the ability to reset your account so you can do the import again. If you would like to do this just send an email to and we will help you.

Unsupported eBird features

The following eBird features are currently not supported:
  • Oiled Birds observation type. Not all of the requred fields are supported by eBird's import process.
  • Breeding code property
  • Elevation property
  • Checklists exporting with non-english language set in preference. Checklist downloads are culture specific and therefore very tricky to support on import.
If any of these features are important to you, please request support via our feedback site.

Unsupported BirdTrack features

We don't currently support import/export of non-bird records to BirdTrack. Please request this via our feedback site if you'd like to see it.

Feedback and Knowledge Base