Moosing Around

Moose seem to a relatively recent arrival i central Idaho. Saturday evening Mrs. WC and I walked up the hill behind the family cabin and found a cow and two calves. Unhappily, WC didn’t have a camera. Yes, WC knows.

A high speed walk – at 5,000 plus feet – didn’t work out. She’d left, taking her twins.

Without much hope, WC went back up on Sunday night, and got lucky. Note: these photos were taken with a 100-400mm zoom lens, at a full 400mm. The moose were a long ways away. Which is as it should be. Cow moose with calves are unpredictable.

Moose Calves, Payette Lake, Idaho

Moose Calves, Payette Lake, Idaho

There were the kids, hunkered down in the grass by a small reservoir.

Mom was a little closer to WC. She started moving away, screened from WC by a line of shrubs, and gave a couple bleats.

Mom's calling. Moose Calves, Payette Lake, Idaho

Mom’s calling. Moose Calves, Payette Lake, Idaho

The bleats got the calves’ attention; they were on their feet and watching attentively.

Mama Moose. Payette Lake, Idaho

Mama Moose. Payette Lake, Idaho

Mom had a slightly gimpy left rear leg. You can see in this photo she wasn’t putting any weight on it. It didn’t keep her from moving around, but it did seem to be bothering her.

Reunited. Payette Lake, Idaho

Reunited. Payette Lake, Idaho

Everyone felt better when they were reunited with some open water between WC and the family.

Based on these moose, Idaho’s are smaller than Alaska’s. That’s consistent with Bergman’s Rule: an ecogeographical rule that states that within a broadly distributed taxonomic clade, populations and species of larger size are found in colder environments, and species of smaller size are found in warmer regions. Although originally formulated in terms of species within a genus, it has often been recast in terms of populations within a species. It’s named for nineteenth century German biologist Carl Bergmann, who described the pattern in 1847.

But WC was enjoying the critters, not speculating about biology. WC watched them a little longer as mom resumed grazing, and then left them to their own business.