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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

With only an hour left to Father's Day, I thought I would squeeze in a post honoring all those dads out there. Check here for my Mother's Day post from May. For that post, it was easy for me to find photos I have taken of females with their cute little ones trailing along. For fathers, it is a little trickier. The majority of mammal males do not assist in the child rearing. Secondly, many mammals are not sexually dimorhpic, so even if I HAD a photo of good old dad helping with the kids, we may not even be able to tell. So I present for you today a few photos of male mammals striving to be dads:

Bull elk bugling
(9/10, Yellowstone National Park)
ELK: This past September, Danika and I spent a week in Yellowstone National Park. One of the highlights for me was a battle we witnessed between two bull elk. The best matches are between males that are of similar size and strength. We pulled into a parking area and started photographing a nice bull and his harem (of about 12 cows). Suddenly, he stood up and started bugling. He bugled as he crossed the small creek and there in the distance was the challenger. The bull spotted (or heard?) him long before any of the rest of us did. They squared off and started in. Elk battles are mostly pushing matches. This one ranged over a large area and lasted almost 20 minutes. At times, the bulls were fairly close. We could see, hear and smell all the action (pretty musky!). We felt very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.
Bull elk fighting
(9/10, Yellowstone National Park)

One of the cows was so curious about the action, she kept getting closer and closer.
Bull elk fighting
(9/10, Yellowstone National Park)

In the end, the challenger was defeated and the bull retained his harem. Presumably, this Father's Day, that bull has several little calves wishing him well, making him cards and buying him ties...


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