Today’s cogitation came about after spending some time on Jon Hall’s fascinating Mammal Watching blog. It got me thinking, why does mammal watching not enjoy the same level of interest and profile that bird watching attracts? As a mammal enthusiast, who’s interested in all forms of creature, I find this rather mystifying. For me, the sheer morphological and behavioural variety of mammals is intrinsically interesting; so why is the spotting of them often in the shadow of the ornithological equivalent?
It could have something to do with the fact that birds are generally easier to spot, or at least, perceived to be less time-consuming to locate. But even if that is the case, for me, much of the mammalian allure comes from the time spent researching and tracking them. When you do get a sighting, it makes it all the more special and memorable – not to mention satisfying and rewarding. Many of our mammal species are rarely studied and therefore little is known about them. Observing such a species in the wild could bring the possibility of documenting behaviour that is new to science. So let’s allow mammal watching to come out of the shadows, and by doing so, the communal exchange of sightings alone should increase our chances of spotting them in the wild.