Are you a lister? C’mon, you know you are—I know I am. Like many birders, I like to keep a list of the birds I see by year; by state; the total spotted in the ABA territory. I share the goal of many serious birders to see seven hundred species of birds in North America. That’s a magic number!
But, I am not only interested in seeing birds in their native habitats; I also like seeing the other wildlife. I remember the thrill of seeing my first wild wolf in Riding Mountain National Park, or my first western diamondback rattlesnake in Aransas National Wildlife refuge, even my first Colorado River toad at my kids’ school in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have kept lists of all the mammals, reptiles and amphibians I have observed through my bird watching travels. After seeing the title of John James Audubon’s great work ‘The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America’ I started thinking about what would be an equivalent goal to seven hundred birds if you also kept track of mammals, reptiles and amphibians?
I went back and checked my lists and tried to calculate the proportions of birds to the other quadrupeds. I noticed that you typically see about five times as many birds as you do mammals, and about half again more mammals than reptiles and about twice as many reptiles as amphibians and it leaped out at me…if you see seven hundred birds, and one hundred fifty mammals and one hundred reptiles and fifty amphibians you’ll come to a nice round number… one thousand! That’s an even more magical number!
I decided right then and there that one of my life goals is to see one thousand wild quadrupeds in the ABA territory! It will be a quest…My Quest for a Thousand!
Jim Vanderpoel © 2011