Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I saw my first moose of the season today. It was a small cow moose eating shrubs in my neighbor's front yard right across the street. I guess the moose are moving down from the Chugach Mountains and back into town for the winter. Anchorage is home to approximately one thousand moose every winter. It is a common experience to see moose walking down our street. After living in Anchorage for more than thirty years, I am surprised at how much I still enjoy sharing the city with the moose. It seems that I feel just as excited to see a moose now as I was when I first came to Alaska. I love to see moose - at least as long as they are not in the road in front of my vehicle or standing between me and a safe place. I think that they are very interesting animals with their long legs, big ears, and big noses. I actually think that moose are ugly. Some animals such as deer, caribou, Dall sheep and even buffalo have pretty faces. Moose do not, but I still love to see them. Our family has enjoyed visits from moose for many years. One winter my younger son jumped over a fence into our backyard and came almost face-to-face to moose. The moose charged but was not able to get my son because he ducked behind our shed and got to the house before the moose got him. Another time we had a moose come into our yard in the early spring. She was so skinny from the winter that we were afraid that she would starve to death in our yard. We were grateful when she moved down the street. The visits that we enjoy the most come in the early spring when the moose mamas are having their babies. We often have a mama bring her newborn baby into our yard and stay for a few hours. Several times twins have come to visit us. A couple of years ago, a mother moose brought her twin calves into our yard and kept them there for several days. She, with the help of her babies, stripped all the green leaves from our raspberry bushes and ferns. When she had eaten all the new leaves in our yard, including my newly potted geraniums, she started venturing out for short periods of time without her calves. She seemed to know that the calves were safe in our yard because she would leave them several times a day and be gone for about thirty minutes or so before coming back to them. We so enjoyed having them here that we really missed them when they moved out during the night. Having been through childbirth myself several times and also having daughters who are in their child-bearing years, I have very tender feelings for mothers with new babies and have found that those feelings extend to our visiting moose. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to share my yard with mama moose and their new babies. I am grateful to live in a country where wild animals are protected and available for all to see.