NEW! Saving bird identifications in Merlin is now available for beta testers. Interested in early access to this and other new Merlin features? Join the Merlin Beta Test Team. Saving bird IDs will be publicly available soon! 


When you identify a bird in Merlin Bird ID, you can save it to your Life List - a list of all the birds you have confidently identified. If you use eBird, your Merlin Life List also includes species reported on your eBird checklists.


How to save the birds you identify in Merlin

Important details about saving bird IDs in Merlin

How is Merlin different from eBird?

Additional FAQ


How to save the birds you identify in Merlin




If you've confidently identified a bird through Start Bird ID or Photo ID, tap the “Save Sighting” button. Make sure you are connected to the internet! 




Select the location where you saw the bird. Tap anywhere on the map to create a new location, or use a previous location if you are identifying another bird from the same spot.




Confirm the date and location and tap “Save”.

Congratulations, you’ve added a bird to your Merlin life list!



To view your growing Merlin Life List, open the app’s main menu and tap “eBird Life List”.


Location, Location, Location: It’s not necessary to pinpoint the exact branch a bird was on, but try to report birds as close as possible to where you saw them. This might mean you have several locations in the same area - one for your yard, one for the park, and one for your favorite walking trail.



Important details about saving bird IDs in Merlin

  • You must be connected to a cellular or wifi network to save sightings.
  • These are your personal bird observations. Birds you’ve identified and their dates and locations remain private unless you choose to share them.
  • At this time, only birds identified through the “Photo ID” or “Start Bird ID” buttons can be saved. 
  • You can add a species to your life list more than once! Keep track of when and how many times you’ve identified a bird by saving it every time you identify it in Merlin.
  • Your Merlin life list automatically includes birds from your eBird checklists. 
  • Existing eBird users may wish to continue using eBird (read more about differences between Merlin and eBird).



Keep your Merlin life list as accurate as possible! Always select the correct location and date of your sighting, and only save birds you are confident you identified correctly.



How is reporting something in Merlin different from eBird?


Birds you save in Merlin…

  • Are not part of public eBird displays and output; they will not appear in species maps, recent visit lists, Explore pages, or on eBird Alerts.
  • Will not count towards your Top 100 rankings.
  • Can only be saved one at a time.
  • Are not subject to eBird’s data review process.
  • Are not incorporated into cutting edge research and conservation tools like eBird Status and Trends.


Your Merlin life list automatically includes birds from your eBird checklists. If you already use eBird or want your observations to be included in public output, consider learning more with our free eBird Essentials course!



Additional FAQ

Merlin didn't suggest the bird I saw, can I still add it to my Life List?

Why can’t I save birds I identified through the Explore button?

How do I remove a species from my Merlin life list?

Can I edit my Merlin observations or add photos, notes, additional species, etc.?

Why does my Merlin checklist say “CHECKLIST FLAGGED”?

Why does my Merlin checklist show a count of X?


Merlin didn't suggest the bird I saw, can I still add it to my Life List?

For now, it is only possible to save a bird in Merlin if you confidently identified it through the Photo ID or Start Bird ID tools. See our Merlin Bird ID FAQs for more information on what to do if Merlin doesn't suggest a match.


Why can’t I save birds I identified through the Explore button?

Saving birds is currently only available through certain Merlin workflows. Birds identified through the Photo ID and Start Bird ID tools account for the location and date of your observation and the physical features of the bird. These important details allow you to be more confident in the birds you save to your life list. We look forward to bringing you the option to save birds through the Explore button in the future.


How do I remove a species from my Merlin life list?

If you made a mistake and accidentally saved a species you didn’t identify, you can update or delete that observation from your account at eBird.org.

  1. Open https://ebird.org/MyEBird?cmd=list&r=world
  2. Scroll down to the species you wish to edit, or tap “All species” and enter the species name in the search box to see every time you identified and saved that species.
  3. When you find the observation you want to change, click the DATE
  4. Use Change Species to change the species, or tap “Checklist tools” then “Delete” to delete the observation completely. 


NOTE: if you wish to completely remove a species from your life list, you will need to repeat this process for every instance you saved the bird in Merlin


Can I edit my Merlin observations or add photos, notes, additional species, etc.?

Yes! You can edit, share, or add photos or comments to a species. Remember that notes, photos, and any additional birds on your Merlin checklists will remain part of your personal collection and are not publicly displayed unless you share them.

  1. Open https://ebird.org/MyEBird?cmd=list&r=world
  2. Tap “All species” and enter a species name to see every time you identified and saved that species.
  3. Find the observation you wish to edit and tap the DATE
  4. On the checklist page, you can share the list, change species, add comments, upload media, and add other birds you identified at the same time and location.


Important: Your checklist should reflect the birds you saw or heard during that specific moment of birding. Do not add photos, notes, or birds from other dates and locations to your checklist. Keep your personal records accurate - do not add information to your checklist if you are not confident it is correct!



Why does my Merlin checklist say “CHECKLIST FLAGGED”?

This is a reminder that this checklist is part of your personal, private Merlin life list and will not appear in public eBird output. Learn more about the differences between Merlin and eBird observations.


Why does my Merlin checklist show a count of X?

‘X’ means a species was present but no exact count was given. You can edit the list to add a count. Only do so IF you remember the number of birds you saw AND heard. It is usually better to leave a count as X if you cannot provide an accurate estimate. Learn more about counting birds.