I am reading Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds by Olivia Gentile and that's what got me started on the subject of lists. I've been interested in birds for awhile but this book has brought me into the whole world of birding and list keeping and now I am making a life list of birds I have seen.
I am including with each bird, the situation, day, thoughts, etc. Whatever it takes to remember that moment. It's not easy to catch a photograph of a bird and often while trying you while miss seeing the action all together. I've decided to stop trying to catch photos of anything in action and take in the moment the best I can by paying attention and as soon as I can writing it down. Most of our memories are made through telling a story.
So what is the purpose of the list? It's not so much about the end result, but rather to remind myself to keep looking. It's about all the things I will notice that I may have missed; things that might not even be on the list.
If you want to start a list, I recommend starting with a good notebook. My first bird list is in The Paper Apartment's Feathers Notebook. Then find a list for your area to follow. In Chicago visit the Chicago Ornithological Society and download their Chicago Area Birds Checklist on the homepage.