Saturday, October 4, 2008

Backyard moose

Living in Alaska can mean meeting moose anytime. Not necessarily cause for concern, but unlucky people have been knocked down -- but most of the time a moose will just ignore humans and keep on munching on twigs.

Winter can be very hard on moose. Just think, trying to maintain a bodymass of over 1000 pounds on the calories provided by mere bark and twigs! I'd be ornery too.

Deep snow can be a bitch, even if you do have long legs. Mostly, moose try to avoid it. One more reason for moose to come into town....
but trouble can be found there too: Here's a bull moose all entangled in electric lights in downtown Anchorage (Photo credit: Erik Hill, ADN)

Springtime is another common time to see moose in our backyards, like this moose cow with twins who gave birth in a neighbor's yard this May. (Photo credit: Gail Kozak)
Moose cows come into the neighborhoods to give birth because it provides them with some protection from predators, such as bears (but bears can and do follow the cows right into town).
This mama ate all my tulips -- but I forgave her when I saw her with her calves. In fact, I was working on the computer when she came into the yard with her twins. Nobody else was around (prof & kids gone camping), and she stayed for a couple of hours, even taking a little nap right outside the window where I was sitting. I did not have my camera, so I sketched them -- and even though I can't draw at all, I thoroughly enjoyed the process!

In fall, this bull moose felt a real need to rearrange our lawn furniture. He was in the rutting stage, and needed to rub the velvet from his antler -- so here he is in our backyard, I took these pictures 2 years ago around Labor Day (first of September).

Living so close to wildlife here in Alaska is such a priviledge, but quite a challenge to wildlife managers, esp. in urban areas. People love to spot moose, but want bears to stay away from their backyards. They think moose are harmless, and don't realize that without predators, moose populations won't stay healthy. And the habitat of both continue to be compromised by urbanization... We're lucky as Alaskan citizens, but we need to do our job educating ourselves about how to co-exist with wildlife.

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