Twin Elk Calves!

So we’d finished dinner, last night, and Don walked out on the deck to see what was going on on the river.
He told me to bring out the camera because the Elk were coming this way into the field.  I wasn’t in a hurry because I like to wait until they are closer, and out from behind the trees, to get photos.  Surely the cows and calves wouldn’t be there – they’d have to cross the river.

First Calf Nursing
First Calf Nursing

But when I got out there we started to hear the bleats of the calves – maybe one, maybe two?  Watching them nurse is the only way to know who’s with who.

Second Calf Nursing
Second Calf Nursing

It’s a pitiful sound, clearly meaning “I’m hungry.  I can’t walk another step. Wait up Mom.”  Mom doesn’t walk all the way back to the calf.  But she waits until it catches up with her to nurse.  The calves don’t make any sound unless they’re hungry.

roosevelt elk calf rump
White rump not fully developed

I think this is the same herd we saw a few days ago when they were just born.  Alllie’s not here though.  Maybe she had her calf somewhere else and is a little slower?  We had the glasses on them, trying to guess which pregnant cow would deliver by morning.

roosevelt elk twin calves
One mom and 2 calves on other side of fence

There were about a dozen adult Roosevelt Elk in this herd.  No big bull but a couple spikes were there.  This refutes a theory that the cows separate themselves from the herd to calve.

THEN, one cow elk comes strolling up the other side of the fence…with TWO calves following her!  They look a little larger than the ones on this side of the fence but still have spots.  They have to be twins because there is no other elk on that side of the fence and I can’t see them getting separated like that from their mother.

elk calves
2 behind and 2 in front of the fence

Here’s some pretty good info on elk: http://www.rmef.org/ElkFacts.aspx

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