My tale starts with me: about 8:30 am this morning I went outside in the backyard IN THE DARK to fill my bird feeders and put down duck food. I could see where to go because the feeders were silhouetted against the snow. I do this every morning without incident. I then came back in the house to get some water to put out in the two heated water dishes, and when I went back on the porch to go down the back steps (it was still dark), I could see a big dark silhouetted blob on the snow just beyond the feeders — it appeared to be a moose lying down on the snow. Clearly it had been there when I was outside at the feeders and I had probably been less than 30 feet from it! I raced back in to get my camera to see if I could get a photo in the dark.
While I watched, part of the dark blob arose – there were two moose! The second moose, apparently a yearling briefly wandered away, and sniffed at one of the feeders.
The second moose then came back and lay down again next to its mother. Time passed as both moose chewed their cuds.
Mallards arrived but soon left because they were spooked by me standing on the porch in the halflight.
Gradually it became lighter and my photos improved. Then the Black-billed Magpies arrived in the yard, and a couple of them went over to hop on the moose’s backs, eating something apparently off them.
After about an hour both moose stood up and began browsing on our saplings as they wandered around the yard. I followed the mother with my camera (I stayed on the back porch) making a video recording as she walked past the feeders, including the suet feeder featured in my last blog, and munched on birch twigs over her head. In the video you can hear Pine Grosbeaks up in the trees and a Common Raven sitting up on another birch in the back of our yard.
Finally, the mother decided to leave the yard, jumping over the gate beside our house, and her young one followed.
They went out in the street in front of our house, and wandered down toward the neighbors’ yard, where they were last seen munching on one of the bushes.
I love Alaska!