Saturday, April 19, 2008

thoughts on skinny moose

I have finally seen moose in Algonquin Park. Yesterday after work I left straight to drive to a little spot where fishy and I were meeting near the West Gate, and on my drive through the park I encountered two deer, what I believe was a screech owl, and three moose. Heretofore, I have to admit that though I have seen moose many other places, and have spent a fair bit of time every year for the past three or four in Algonquin during both winter and summer, I had never seen a moose actually in the park.

The three moose I saw were looking a little rough. Okay, the first two were looking emaciated. It has not been a good winter for ungulates anywhere, and here in the park there are still large patches of snow and a lot of ice on the lakes. The third one I saw looked like he had a little more meat on his bones, but it occurs to me, maybe this is part of the reason that males loose their antlers in the fall? Because they clearly don't have the strength to carry them around through the end of the winter and into the spring.

I also thought, my god they look mangy, but it occurred to me just before I saw the third that I believe moose also go through a bit of a shedding process in the spring, and lose their heavier winter coats.

The other thing that occurred to me was that I really think people shouldn't be allowed to get out of their cars and chase wildlife. The first two moose, the really wretched ones, were being pursued by tourists with cameras. I thought about stopping and snarking, but that never makes me feel good, and I doubt it really actually helps. And if I had never seen a moose before, I would probably want some photos, even of a sickly moose. Those poor moose really don't have the energy to waste getting away from tourists.

So, instead of feeling really down on humanity, I decided to feel good about the fact that I did see moose, and a screech owl, and deer (who were looking hungry, but not nearly as hungry as the moose) and that I am here for a weekend in the sun, and am going to go birdwatching today.

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