Tag Archive: Moose

Rocky Mountain Moose

It’s relatively rare to see moose in the Rockies. I see more wolves and bears than I see moose, but late fall and early winter always seem to be good times to run into them. You would think it wouldn’t be hard to  find them when they weigh around 500kg and stand about 2.5 meters tall at the shoulder, but this bull was only given away by his prominent set of antlers while he bedded down during a snow storm.

Moose antlers snow fall WM

Two other similarly camouflaged bulls were resting nearby, but when they got up and started moving towards the larger bull it didn’t take him long to get their attention. He stood up, flattened his ears and strutted over to them.

3 male moose standing WM

Bull moose will posture before ever sparring and the smaller bulls quickly realized they had no chance, put their heads down and got out of his way.

Moose retreat WM

Satisfied with his work, the big bull turned and had a look at me. I had placed myself next to a large tree just in case I needed to make a quick escape, but I guess he didn’t feel I was even worth trying to scare off since he just turned around and went back to feeding on willows. I was just fine with that!

Bull Moose Antlers WM

Metropolitan Moose

Moose on the loose watermark

The New Year has not resulted in a slow down in my opportunistic backyard wildlife photography and in fact it seems to have picked up a bit!  This time it was the largest cervid in North America to make an appearance and while the photo isn’t great, it is was more to document the sighting than anything!

I was enjoying the beautiful morning sunrise in Calgary while cooking breakfast when I looked out the kitchen window and noticed this cow and calf moose making their way down the path to the backyard pond! I immediately sprang into action, racing around the house throwing on warm clothes and my boots while grabbing my camera and coat hoping they would still be there when I got out the back door. Sure enough, they had stopped where I last saw them to nibble on some shoots. I walked down the small hill to the pond and managed to snap off a few photos before the mother got spooked by something and trotted across the frozen pond with her calf in tow. By this point, several cars and pedestrians had stopped along the road to take in the rare event. As everyone looked on, the moose made their way up the bank and down the sidewalk ignoring the backlog of traffic before disappearing out of sight.

Every year a few moose end up in Calgary. They make their way into the city by travelling along rivers and park systems. Thankfully, these two appeared to know their way around the neighbourhood and successfully navigated all the city traffic, houses and pedestrians on their way to more suitable habitat on the outskirts of town. Those that wander too far into the city require ‘assistance’ from the local Fish and Wildlife officers, who sometimes need to sedate and move the moose if they get stuck in someone’s backyard or wander into the downtown core.

It will be hard to top this latest backyard wildlife sighting but it left me wondering what wildlife will be next to show up at my doorstep?

Moose two bulls castle mountain crop watermarkHappy New Year! Thanks for stopping by and for those returning, thanks for your support in 2012! It was my best year to date with visits from over 110 different countries! I had several amazing wildlife experiences resulting in a few of the photos you see here. It will be hard to top 2012, but I’m looking forward to seeing what develops in 2013 and sharing my photos and stories with you here.

On one of my recent trips to the mountains I watched a pack of wolves slowly wander along a frozen river and took in a beautiful sunrise as the moon set over the mountains. I also came across these two bull moose in a large meadow surrounded by mountains.  Moose in the Bow Valley ecosystem are the hardest of the ungulates to find and it’s even more rare to see more than one adult together at a time. However, this past year I have seen more moose than ever before and there is evidence to suggest that their numbers will steadily increase in the park over the next decade (as long as rail and vehicles strikes can be minimized).

These two large males just came through the rutting season. Just before the start of the rut, their testosterone levels surge and they essentially become the human equivalent of an Olympic caliber athlete on performance enhancing drugs. For over a month they battled other males, wander large distances to find reproductively active females and hardly eat a thing, all  for the opportunity to breed. The end of the season is marked by a gradual decrease in their testosterone levels. They no longer view each other as competition but instead, periodically seek out the company of other males and forage together.  These two spent the day trying to replenish their energy reserves by eating and resting together in a large meadow. The mountain in the background is known as Castle Mountain, which on its own is one of my favourite mountains to photograph in Banff National Park. Add in a sunny day with clear skies, a great vantage point and a couple of moose and it was the perfect recipe for getting a good photograph.

Herd of Moose

Continuing with the theme of unusual animal sightings, this one occurred earlier this year.  Unlike in Newfoundland, moose generally live very solitary lives in Alberta.  Prior to this day, the only time where I have seen more than two unrelated animals together was during the breeding season. So it was very surprising to be driving along a back country road and come across this scene! We immediately slammed on the brakes, grabbed our cameras and started taking photos. In total there were 11 moose in this one meadow, with 7 in this frame. There were two mothers with calves and several yearlings and two-year olds. With hunting season just over they were still a bit skittish, so we grabbed a few photos, got back into the car and continued on.