Nature is changing. Count the wild!

written Jan 8, 2018 (last updated Sep 5, 2021) • by Jon Sullivan • Category: Why count

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Why WildCounts?

The wild natural world is changing. Fast. Because of us.

Yet we know very little about how wild nature is changing. Which species are declining? Which are increasing? How fast? Where? How are their behaviours changing? Which species are adapting to the changes? What are the consequences of all these changes? For all nature. For us!

Surprisingly, the places where we tend to know the least about these things are our cities, towns, and farms. The places where we live and work. There is wild all around us, making our planet tick. Making it amazing! But, for the most part, we’re not taking notice.

Sure, there are some fantastic and fanatical birders out there dedicating their lives to bird watching. It’s incredible what they’re achieving with tools like eBird. But what about in your neighbourhood? And what about your local butterflies or beetles, mushrooms or mosses? How are they doing? Who is watching your wild?

WildCounts is about paying more attention to what’s changing in the wild. All of the wild. There’s all the “how”, “what”, and “why” here to help you to count your wild. It’s also about celebrating the people who choose to count the wild. And, it explores what we can do with all the extra knowledge that comes from wild counts.

If more of us count the wild, we’ll all learn more about how nature is changing. If we take more notice, perhaps we’ll all value the wild more. Together we can make the wild count!


About the website

The WildCounts website has three sections.

In the Count section (where you are now), you’ll find lots of tips and instructions on how to count the wild. That includes what to do when out looking (and listening) for species, how to enter and store your wild counts data, and how to share those online.

In the Blog section, there are stories about people making wild counts, the amazing knowledge being uncovered using wild counts, and ways that this knowledge is used to make the wild count in our society.

In the Data section, you’ll find out where to get wild counts data, and how to wrangle it into the shape you want, crunch the numbers to uncover patterns and trends, and make graphs and maps.

WildCounts went live in September 2021, but includes plenty of older content that’s previously only been offline. It’s a work in progress and content will be regularly added and improved. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome (see Who).


The WildCounts website is being constructed online, and there’s a lot more content to come. Here are the latest additions.

New on WildCounts

November 2023: article uploaded in the "How to count the wild" section on making sure you record all of What-Where-When-Who-Why-How.

October 2023: some of the backlog of Blog articles uploaded: What exactly is wild?, A butterfly flew through, My wild counting workflow, Imagine counting the wild on EVERY street in a city, Adding a scale to macro photos, That's no pollinator, that's a flower visitor!, Stop it people, the plural of anecdote IS data!.

October 2023: guest Blog article on CEBRA uploaded: CEBRA: An optimised and standardised sampling protocol for BioBlitz.

March 2023: some of the backlog of Blog articles uploaded: History matters in ecology, so be careful what history you make, When and where we should, and shouldn't, plant trees, Wait, don't plant! Forest restoration ≠ gardening.

29 November 2021: Count methods: Predetermine what to count before you start..

13 October 2021: Blog: A digital immigrant's perspective on the digital photography revolution.

10 October 2021: Count concept: Pacing the uncountables.

5 October 2021: Blog: Less than 2% of my observations have a photo, and that's a good thing!

29 September 2021: Count concept: Your friend, the question mark.

22 September 2021: Count concept: The usual is not the same.

19 September 2021: Blog: Now You meet Future You.

18 September 2021: Count methods: WildCounts Shorthand vocab.

18 September 2021: Count methods: Introducing WildCounts Shorthand.

12 September 2021: Blog: A workflow for bulk adding annotated photos of wild species to iNaturalist.

11 September 2021: WildCounts website live!

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