Tag Archives: wildlife

We Know Better Now (42/365)

A very long, very busy day again – so today I’ve gone into the archives for a couple of quick photos in the ‘hm, good thing we don’t do this any more’ department.

IMG_4488

Back in the day, feeding wildlife was a thing… I think I even read recently  (can’t think now where) that long ago people came to Banff to feed the bears! That seems like an eminently stupid thing to do, but then, when I look at us (that’s me and my brother, Peter) feeding the bighorn sheep, that wasn’t too smart either.

charles m russell big-horn-sheep-1904.jpg!Large

There’s a dramatic painting by Charles M. Russell, c. 1904 called Big Horn Sheep… It’s the males that have the full-on horn curl going on. 

 

 

PC216120.jpg

This Big Horn buck is mounted and hung at Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. I’m not sure of the stats regarding trophy hunting and how popular it is then versus now, but I can’t say I understand why anyone would hunt just for sport. I’m not opposed for hunting for meat as long as one does so in season and following proper game management protocols but as a source of decorations? Um. No. 

And, yes, probably somewhat less dangerous but also not a good idea is the chipmunk-feeding craze we enjoyed as kids. I loved the feel of their tiny, delicate claws every so gently scratching the palm of my hand as they would take an offered peanut. They were pretty brazen (I think this one was on the top of Sulphur Mountain) and would sit back on their haunches, cheeks bulging and enjoy their feast.

 

IMG_4516

These days I have quite a different relationship with the little monsters. They know when climbers are busy belaying and can’t chase them off, so they blithely crawl all over our packs, chew holes in food bags, and generally make a menace of themselves while we are distracted.

They are still cute, yes, but I have a lot less patience with them now and have no patience whatsoever with people who feed them and make the problem worse.

 

charles m russell big-horn-sheep-1904.jpg!Large

There’s a dramatic painting by Charles M. Russell, c. 1904 called Big Horn Sheep… It’s the males that have the full-on horn curl going on. 

 

And that, as they say, is all she wrote…

Anybody else want to confess they used to feed the animals? As in, a long time ago before we knew better? I think there’s a statute of limitations on such misdemeanors (though today, there’s also a hefty fine). If you are a current offender, perhaps best you keep your head down and stay quiet.

 

Elk! (Day 9/365)

Elk IMG_3081.jpg

I was cycling home this afternoon, hurrying because the weather had changed for the worse in the hour or so that I’d been out, when I spotted these gals… The resident elk herd was enjoying the fresh grass right beside the main road leading into town.

 

american-elk-1845 John James Audobon

American Elk by John James Audubon, 1845

I only saw cows and youngsters, no bull with this group (I just learned that tidbit – the males are not bucks, as I would have thought…) who were eating and lounging and paying no attention to traffic or cyclists waving cameras in their direction.

For your edification, a few useless facts about elk:

  • There used to be 6 sub-species of elk in North America, but two are now extinct
  • Mature bulls can weigh more than 700 lbs (explaining why it’s such bad news when they are hit by cars on the highway)
  • To attract females, males urinate on themselves, soaking their hair and making sure they are nice and smelly (rather glad males of the human species don’t indulge in such delightful behaviour)
  • Utah has claimed the Rocky Mountain Elk as its state animal
  • An adult elk will eat about 20 lbs of vegetation in a day

 

Canmore Elk IMG_3080.jpg

I’m sure the local elk are enjoying those luscious, fresh green leaves as much as I am! Spring is springing!!

What’s your favourite local wildlife species?