We have resident moose here at the ranch on a year round basis, and it’s not uncommon to see them striding past the kitchen window. You would think that, with such long legs and oddly proportioned head and body, they would look ungainly, but they most definitely do not. They have a grace that makes their long legged pace look almost relaxed and easy and they cover distance at a remarkably fast rate. Their long legs lift them up above the snow, and they don’t find it the obstacle that deer do. So, while the deer and elk leave our high mountain ranch in the winter time, the moose are content to move from one drainage to another, crossing over the ridge that our home and bison ranch sits on, and striding down the other side. While they eat substantial amounts of aquatic vegetation in the summer months, spending long hours in willow thickets and streams, their winter diet is more accessible on the mountain slopes and south exposures where aspen, fivewillow and chokecherry, snowberry, snowbrush and other shrubby offerings stick up above the snow. This fella is using his front hooves to paw through the snow to reach vegetation hiding away there.
There’s a reason that bison have such big heads (a bull head can weigh up to 200 lbs). They can forage through 1- 2 feet of snow by using their head to push snow aside to reach any vegetation underneath.
Here Gigi is finding some green grass under the snow that grew as a result of our fall rains .
“Just a bunch of Crows looking for a bunch of Sage Grouse” April 17, 2015
Okay, time for another “I Love My Life” segment. I’ve had a blast these last couple of weeks looking for sage grouse leks on the Crow Reservation (Apsaalooke Nation) with some really fun people. And it’s hard for me to look for anything wildlife without trying to do my amateur best to catch it on film. I don’t have great equipment, but it’s good enough to balance on the edge of my car door and capture some of the awe inspiring wildlife behavior that I see in the world around me (and since youtube has that “we can fix your shakiness”, the grouse aren’t shaking around too much – just the words :)!. And since we’re looking for (and finding) Greater Sage Grouse leks, that’s what I was able to film (thanks to the patience of the fellas I was with – one of which gave me this great quote that I used for the title).
And then comes the cautious coyote… February 21, 2013
While some critters come right in to the camera, others make really sure that it’s okay first. This series shows the cautious canid starting in, then going back out, coming in again and then going back out, over and over. It took two nights before he finally actually ate at the bones. Even then, he would eat, then back off, then carefully come back in. This is how a little 20 lb canid lives in a hostile world.
As we continue to get bigger critters – add a golden eagle! February 4, 2013
Another young ‘un, this immature golden is happy to find such a handy snack! First, he checks it over….
Then he takes a bite. What a deal for a growing youngster.
First Magpies, then Ravens and – a Goshawk on carrion! February 1, 2013
While carrion isn’t the usual for Goshawks, they’re certainly not above taking advantage of fresh goodies. And when you’re a young of the year, now on your own, you are happy to take what you can get!
Enter the Ravens. Getting bigger. January 30, 2013
While the magpies are often the ones to find the goodies, the ravens are no slouches and are good at spotting food from above. And if they see a flock of magpies poring over something on the ground, then they know there’s food around.