Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Wapiti's World - Elk Calves

Elk Calves


Rocky Mountain Elk are the undisputed symbol of Evergreen, Colorado where they roam freely from one end of the community to the other. Their annual movements are synchronized with the seasons, becoming an integral part of the natural rhythm of life that exists in the Front Range Mountains.


Yearly events staged by the local weather, flora and fauna are predictable benchmarks offering some comfort during these uncertain times. Trustworthy examples featuring all kinds of wildlife occur like clockwork and sometimes the display is quite spectacular.


The great elk rut in the fall is one such spectacle when massive bulls fight for possession of a harem of breeding cows. During the winter, the herd congregates en masse while struggling to survive harsh conditions worsened by deep snow, frigid temperatures and a meager food supply.


Returning in the spring, the haggard animals look gaunt and shaggy but after a few weeks of gorging on fresh grass, their form becomes sleek and well-nourished. This is when the pregnant cows break from the group and give birth to rambunctious little ones.


By the middle of summer, the elk population explodes with the sudden arrival of so many white-spotted calves. Unable to stay still, the babies are up and moving almost immediately, exploring their wondrous surroundings.


Just like any happy kid, they squeal with delight - running, kicking and bucking while playing in a field of tall grass. Craving some much needed rest, the exhausted mothers are remarkably tolerant of the childish antics that swirl around them.


As the elk calves grow stronger, the cycle continues and soon the bulls’ haunting calls will fill the air, foretelling the first snow. Disheartening as it may be with the planet currently turned upside down, it’s nice to know that the wapiti’s world remains the same.


Middle of summer

Wondrous surroundings

Unable to stay still

Undisputed symbol of Evergreen

Annual movements

Happy kids

The population explodes

A predictable benchmark

White-spotted calves

Rambunctious little ones

The mothers are tolerant

Childish antics

A trustworthy example

The cycle continues

The wapiti's world remains the same

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