Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rocky Mountain Elk Rut


Here is another photo from my trip to Colorado two years ago. This one is in Estes Park, which is just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. Believe it or not, this is in the parking lot of a hotel a couple of doors down from where I stayed. I got a much better view of the wildlife in the hotel parking lot than I did driving through the National Park!

This is a bull (male) elk, in the rut (mating) season. I caught this one in the middle of "bugling". This is a call they use to attract a "harem" of females and to keep other males away. It was a chilly morning, and you can see the plume of condensation from his breath to the left of his head. It sounded like this bull was competing with another one across the street who we could also hear bugling. Soon after I took this picture, he headed off across the road.

Unfortunately I did not take any video for you to hear the bugling. It is a loud and haunting bellowing noise. It was actually a little scary, coming from an animal this large and this close. Below is a YouTube video taken in Banff, which is in the Canadian Rockies. The acoustics of this recording are great.


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