I think one of the major reasons is the relative difficulty involved in finding
mammals, reptiles etc. When you think about the last time you were out in the
bush, you saw maybe 30 species of bird, but how many reptiles, mammals, spiders
or other creatures did you see? I keep lists of mammals and reptiles/amphibians
as well as my various bird lists, but while my (Australian) bird list is ~330,
my corresponding mammal list is about 40.
It is also much easier to identify birds than it is to identify a lot of
mammals, particularly the smaller ones (dunnarts, antechinus, rats etc).
Distribution helps, but a lot of them are realistically probably only
identified in the hand (in which case, can you tick them?? ;) ), or with very
considerable expertise. When you combine the small size, often secretive nature
and, in many cases, nocturnal habits of our mammals as well as the fact that
it's pretty tough to get even a glimpse of many of them in the first place, let
alone ID them for any lists, you can see why finding birds would find wider
As for being a mammal twitcher, well, imagine trying to relocate the
Narrow-nosed Planigale recently reported just north of Sydney, outside its
normal range. It's nocturnal and measures 10-13cm including tail...........oh,
and you'd need to make sure you excluded the similar Common
(and that was a hypothetical example, by the way, just in case there are any
mammal twitchers out there ;) )
> Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2008 20:59:50 +1100
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] birdwatchers - spiderwatchers?
> As we all know bird watching is an international pass time with many
> devotees, clubs, twitchers, activities, guides, tours, etc etc etc
> With all the talk of spiders it prompted the thought why other
> creatures such as spiders or insects, lizards or even mammals doesnt
> attract the same level of participation as birds and birding seems to.
> Are there full scale spider listers or mammal twitchers or the
> lizard watchers club?
> Not suggesting that there are not those out there interested or some
> organisations involved in these other creatures, but as far I see not
> at the same levels of participation and passion that birds and
> birding has? .... I wonder why?
> Others may have a thought or disagree with me on this as a topic for
> David Taylor
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