Moose – Nature at our Door

Most people never get to see a moose in the wild. In contrast, in our neighbourhood it seems like just about everyone is talking about ‘their moose’ – the sightings are that frequent!

I recently watched a video from the CBC’s series The Nature of Things called The Incredible Things I’ve Seen while Following a Moose and her Calf for a Year.

A field naturalist, Hugo Kitching, spent 13 months tracking two mother/calf moose pairs  in Jasper National Park (Alberta) so he could document the dangers to moose calves in their first year of life. These mountain moose are in decline – death rates for baby moose are high. A year tracking moose in Jasper National Park is a short story of Hugo’s experience. It gives a further glimpse into the challenges Hugo faced in finding and following these majestic mountain dwelling animals (and avoiding the animals that make a baby moose’s life so dangerous.)

As I watched the video, I kept thinking how much easier it would be to do a similar study of Alberta foothills/prairie dwelling moose. Tracking the moose in our neighbourhood, for example, would sometimes be nothing more than walking out the front door. Other days the search for the moose might take longer, but it would be on mostly flat terrain that is never more than a mile from a road… it is easy to see why The Nature of Things never did a video called “Watching Alberta Prairie Moose is like Watching Paint Dry”.

Moose (Alces alces) colonized the Parkland Region of Alberta during the 1980s and early 1990s, and later colonized the Grassland Region by the early 2000s. They are not a declining species here because there are few areas with the major predators – wolves (Canis lupus), black bears (Ursus americanus), and grizzly bears (U. arctos). Cougars (Felix con-color) are also at very low density, although the abundant coyotes are a small but possible threat. Between 2001 and 2014, the provincial moose population increased ~25% from 92,000 to 115,000. (Status and Management of Moose in the Parkland and Grasslands of Alberta .)

One thing that I learned from the video: our mama moose will drive her calf away later this spring in preparation for giving birth to her next calf! Hard to say how far the calf will go, though, since there are already two other moose loosely associated with the mother moose – possibly her calves from the previous few years… but I’m just guessing.

Mother of all moose and her almost year old calf.

Here are all the moose photos I’ve posted so far.

There are about 700,000 moose in Canada. That means there is one moose for every 54 Canadians ! Mostly moose choose to live where people don’t live, however…

To set the record straight, moose are rarely dangerous and they are vegetarians…

 

20 thoughts on “Moose – Nature at our Door

  1. Moose (almost typed mice) look like they are affable, fun-loving animals. I’ve only seen them on trips but would love to live around them and observe. Truth in blogging now…….have you named one Bullwinkle yet?

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    1. Truth is – I don’t really remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Maybe it didn’t get much air-play in Canada, or I was the wrong age. So, no, I didn’t name one of the moose Bullwinkle!

      The mother moose is perhaps ‘Morley’ – a character in the Vinyl Cafe series of books by Canadian author Stuart McLean. Other possible names – Abercrombie, Bruce, Buford, Baldrick, Malcolm, Maple, Winnie, Macintosh… Hypote-moose, Anony-moose… now, see what you’ve started!

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      1. I wonder if you didn’t get Rocky and Bullwinkle in Canada because of Dudley Do-right? (One of their cartoons, he was a Mountie) He was… shall we say… not the brightest bulb in the socket.
        Come to think of it, neither was Bullwinkle! 😉

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        1. I’m surprised Rocky and Bullwinkle isn’t being hauled into the court of public approval for stereotyping a Canadian! And really, why should a squirrel be the bright one and a moose the dim one! (Let’s hope they all dodge getting ‘cancelled’.)

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  2. Fun, as always. Our deer herd provides similar entertainment and education. The does are blossoming out with this year’s fawns and are about ready to drive their teenagers away. I expect to hear a loud “what the…” from the kids. Interestingly, if something happens to the fawns, the moms often readopt the offspring they have chased away and the kids happily hang out for several more months. –Curt

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    1. Deer often cut through our yard, going from one place to another, but they don’t just hang around like the moose do. I’ve only seen a small fawn once – mom ‘hid’ it in the grass right outside my window. It didn’t take long for the fawn to go on a bit of a walk about!

      I expect you feel truly grateful that you live in a place that nature also calls home! My daughter lives in a nearby Alberta city that has lot’s of topography which means wooded slopes and parks that connect the river valley back to the countryside. They have always had deer and coyote – then an explosion of rabbits. Now the bobcat have moved into town and she has had them in her yard a few times. Bobcat! I’ve never seen one in our Alberta neighbourhood, though they are quite common in the Arizona town we winter in.

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      1. I’m pretty sure that the bobcats appreciate the explosions of rabbits, Margy. 🙂 It’s rare, but we do get bobcats and cougars in our yard. Bears are more common. –Curt

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    1. I’m reminded of that when I look at my photos. Some are when we had a 4 foot fence and some are after we raised it to 6 feet. (1.2 M to 1.8 M, but those numbers are not nearly as dramatic as 4 to 6…)

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  3. That last one made me laugh! I’ve never seen a real moose, but my daughter and son-in-law did and were able to snap a quick photo. The funny thing was, they didn’t realize the moose was in the field behind them when they took the pic, it wasn’t until afterwards that they saw it there!

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    1. That is funny – but I can relate. My husband is a lot better at spotting birds and other wildlife than I am, though I am the person with the camera looking for the wildlife.

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