Introduction to Recording



“Wonder, curiosity and fascination with nature first moves all naturalists” (1)

Biological recording i.e. documenting the occurrence of species at a place at a particular time by an individual(s) has been developing over several hundred years and it is now a highly developed activity carried out by many organisations and individuals. The data collected have formed the bedrock of our understanding of the natural environment. (2)


EcoRecord aims to encourage and support all wildlife recording.


Our wildlife records come from many sources, ranging from professional ecologists to amateur expert naturalists and other wildlife enthusiasts.


Without the support of volunteers and voluntary organisations across Birmingham and the Black Country that have developed and maintained a commitment to biological recording over many years, the knowledge and understanding of the wildlife and ecology of Birmingham and the Black Country would be significantly poorer.


Would you like to begin submitting wildlife records to us but aren't sure how?  Here's a quick guide:


We are interested in all records! 


In order to have a good biological record we need four crucial pieces of information:


1) What was seen - the species name


2) Where it was seen - try to provide as much detail as possible including the name of the site and, especially if it's a large (or long!) site e.g. a canal, where about on the site it was.  If you saw it in your garden then just a postcode is fine.  Ordnance Survey grid references are also really useful.  A great website for finding out a grid reference for a location is:


3) When it was seen - the date the record was made, ideally in dd/mm/yyyy format, but less precise dates are also fine e.g. November 2017, Summer 2015 etc.


4) Who saw itThe name of the person(s) who saw it.  If anyone else helped you to identify it, please also let us know their name too.



You can send us your wildlife records in one of a number of different ways - just chose the one which works best for you:


One-off Records:


Google Form 




This is our own Google Form.  It's very simple to use and you don't need to sign up for an account.  However the form is very basic and it doesn't include the option to upload photos or using a map to finding your location. 






Twitter users can submit records and photos to us by tweeting @EcoRecording


EcoRecord Facebook Group



You can join and post your sightings on the EcoRecord Facebook Group -



Regular Recorders:


Excel Spreadsheet



We have a wildlife recording excel spreadsheet which can be downloaded here


Once youre ready to submit the records you can email it to


There are are also a range of other recording forms on our website at:


If you want a printable checklist to take out into the field there are several different versions (Plants, Invertebrates, Aquatic Life, Birds, Vertebrates) available to download.





iRecord is a dedicated online recording system which can be used either via the web address above or as a phone app.


You need to sign up for a free account but once you've done this I've found it to be the best way of submitting records to EcoRecord (and other Local Environmental Record Centres).


One of the real benefits of iRecord is that you can (if you wish) upload photos to accompany your sighting, and there are a number of expert verifiers who will help to correctly identify your species.  


Recording the location of where you saw the species is also really easy as you can zoom in using an interactive map and then simply click on the location you saw it.


Happy recording!




It is intended that the submitted records will be added to the computer database at EcoRecord. Wildlife information from this database may be passed to third parties but personal details relating to recorders will not be passed on without prior permission being given by the individual. 



(1) Nature:Who Knows. English Nature, Lancaster University and the Natural History Museum (2005)

(2) Running a biological recording scheme or survey. Compiled by Trevor James NBN Development Officer for National Societies & Schemes. (2008)