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.
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?
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.
Of course his daddy is fully grown and lookin’ good!
There were 3 elk calves in this small Roosevelt Elk herd today. I read that a calf is fully weaned by the end of the summer…about 2 months old. And a calf will gain 250-300 pounds in the first year. As quickly as they gain weight, maybe these 2 calves are only a couple weeks apart? I’ve got more questions than answers!
The calves don’t stick right next to mom all day so do they find each other again by smell or voice or sight? I’ve seen the calf get close to a couple cows who chase it away before she finds the one she can nurse.
At least once during the summer I’ll see a yearling nursing and wonder if the mom had and lost a calf and her last year’s calf is just opportunistic?
They’re beautiful animals without a doubt.
The Roosevelt Elk calves will mostly lose their spots by winter. But the yearlings still act like kids; jumping, running and playing with each other. Here’s one of the little calves trying to figure out the purpose of a scarecrow. To watch this YouTube video in a larger window, click on the play arrow and then on the YouTube icon in the lower right corner.
I heard a calf crying for 20-30 minutes before I saw it behind the fence. It sounded like it was coming down to get to the road along the fenceline. There were no adults around and the calf was running back and forth on the road, clearly lost. Mama wasn’t calling to calm it down either. Then a few adult elk came into view in the field and the calf quieted down a little. It was still bothered that it couldn’t get close to mama though. The cows seem so nonchalant about their calves. They wander off and just leave them crying. Animal behavior is interesting…sometimes it is similar to human behavior.
Anyway, then I saw 2 calves on the other side of the fence. At the end of the couple hours, both adults and calves were going in the same direction albeit with a fence in between. I’m sure there is a place the elk can jump the fence to get back to their calves.
Here’s a video of an older elk sibling taking advantage of the situation. You can barely see the 2 little calves moving behind the tall grass and fence near the top of the screen; one behind the first cow and the other passes behind the 2nd cow elk.
Click on YouTube (bottom-right of video) for a better view.
I got out early today to see if the elk were still hanging around where I saw them bedded down last evening. I didn’t find any newborn calves but there were a couple yearlings showing their new antlers.
Most of the elk have lost their winter coats by now but this calf seems to be lagging behind. I’ve noticed an adult keeps their coat a little longer than the others too. I can’t remember if it is a cow or a bull though. If I see him/her I’ll now know who this little guy belongs to.
There are about 35 elk in this herd. I wonder how many can call Alllie Mom?