Category Archives: wildlife

Elk Calving on Oregon Coast

I was just reading the article below that says the elk are calving a little late this year:  Protective mother elk menaces Gearhart beachgoers

I wonder what causes that?  A long, warmer-than-usual autumn?  Not sure but I’m glad the little ones started showing up.  You can see the difference in size of these calves as the larger one was probably born 3 or 4 weeks earlier than the others.

elk-calves-2

I just think they are adorable with their fluffy coat and white spots.  They outgrow their spots in late fall.  They even have the light brown rump but it is not as pronounced as the adult’s.

elk calf
Fluffy elk calf with spots

The cows leave the main herd before giving birth.  Mom’s leave their calves in the tall grass to rest while she feeds.  If you see a calf with no adult elk around, fight the urge to “save” it.  Do NOT approach it.  The calf is just fine.  You would put the calf in danger.  Mom WILL be back.  See how well they can hide in the tall grass in the photo below.

Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass
Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass

We often see the bull hanging around the cows and calves. Even the yearlings seem concerned or curious when the little ones are crying for mom. The bulls don’t get competitive with the younger bulls until late fall.

We counted 6 calves on this day; July 1, 2017.

elk-calf-injured-1

After I got these photos on the computer I noticed a bright red smudge on the cheek of the calf on the left.  Making sure it wasn’t a photo-glitch, I checked another photo of the calf and it was there too.  I’m guessing it was injured when trying to get through a barbwire fence.  Elk cost ranchers a lot of money by damaging their fences.  But the fence won the battle today.  😦

 

Hay Fever or Elk Fever?

I’m not sure what I have but something is making me sneeze!

These are adult elk lying in tall grass – or hay – I confess that I don’t know the difference.  Anyway, there could be calves with them but you’d never see them.

Elk cows lying in a hay field with only head showing
Looks like the elk are in bloom!

The elk don’t seem to mind the birds collecting insects off their back.  I have hundreds of photos of elk in this area and I’ve never seen birds on their backs.  I wonder if there are more insects than normal this summer?

birds eat insects on elk back
Hitching a ride or meal?

Looks like this little guy is also blossoming. He was born last summer so his antlers are just now starting to grow.  By the end of the summer he’ll have a good set of spikes.

brand new antlers on bull elk
brand new antlers on bull elk

Of course his daddy is fully grown and lookin’ good!

Elk in velvet
Elk in velvet