Wildlife Vacation List – Tales with Tails
Ever watch the movie The Big Year? Owen Wilson & Jack Black & Steve Martin are on a year long world wide competition to see all the birds on their list https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1053810/ and win an award.
They may seem obsessed and over the top but I found out that Life Lists are very real and serious for bird enthusiasts. According to http://www.backyardnature.net/birdlist.htm Life Lists are “a list of all the bird species they’ve identified with absolute certainty during their whole lifetime of serious birding.” Many Birders craft their entire annual vacations around spying a rare bird for their list.
As I marvel at the dedication and depth of serious bird watchers I reflected on my own vacation habits. Shockingly I realized that I make a list of critters I’ve seen on every one of my trips! Casually, without forethought or intention I write a list. Maybe in the notes of my phone, in a journal or in a social media recap. And I’ve done it for decades! How have I just noticed this pattern? Who am I? Am I a closet naturalist? Is there a silent scientist lurking behind my camera?
With some reflection I decided that the explanation is quite simple. It’s thrilling. I get a rush when I see an animal in the wild by chance or design. I love to tell the tales of the critters I encounter to eager listeners. Like a “Wish You Were Here” postcard I share photos and stories to transport my friends and family to that moment with me.
Sometimes I have happened upon wildlife by chance. The school of dolphins in Hawaii, bear shockingly close to the trail in Alaska, the brazen wet racoon in Washington. Other times I have specifically sought out the critters. Burrowing owl families in Colorado, Orca pods in the San Juans, and tiny tail dropping lizards in Arizona.
But I can’t tell you all those tales today! You will have to watch the podcast and blog feed for all those tasty treats.
For now I am encouraging you to keep a list of the animals you encounter. You might be as shocked as I when you think back to your travels. Is your favorite story the time you rounded the bend in the trail to be face to face with a moose? Or the time you couldn’t believe your eyes at the number of tadpoles at your favorite fishing hole? Or the time you nearly bumped into a rattler on a bike ride?
Note all your sightings from your neighborhood to far off lands. Fox in your backyard? A bald eagle over the lake? Hummingbirds in the mountains? Or more exotic locals like puffins in Iceland? Blue Footed Booby in the Galapagos Islands? Giraffes in Namibia?
After a while you will have amassed a treasure trove of stories to captivate the room at any function. I have a feeling if you are tuning in to this story that you are like me. And all of your especially fond Tales have Tails.
Listen to the narrated version on the Tales with Tails podcast Episode 5. Aired November 6, 2018.