Musings about Moose in my Alberta Yard

Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing ‘Embraceable You’ in spats.
– Woody Allen –

Alberta prairies

You want me to sing? (A moose visitor this spring.)

If I was asked to describe typical moose habitat, I would NOT say it was where I live – a prairie landscape dotted with a few stands of aspen and a small body of water that can  hardly be called a lake; farm land and various size acreages; a city of 40,000 people just a mile away, poised to swallow us up.

No, I don’t think of this as moose country, yet every so often a moose or two or three trot past my back yard. They are not there by accident. They are our neighbours.

Right across the road from our house is the hay field where the hawk kids hung out this fall. A few mornings ago we spotted the moose family grazing  there.

There were five of them all together, slowly mowing the pasture in the same manner as a herd of cows would. It was a remarkable sight!

A few days later I was wandering around our property and just inside our northern windbreak I found ungulate tracks in the snow. Looking a lot like a deer print, but much bigger, I decided they were moose tracks. Just then the magpies raised an alarm, I spied movement in the woods, and then the crack of branches breaking as something charged through the trees. I was relieved to see a few white tail deer exit the forest and bound off across the field, and I hoped it was me that had startled them, and not a moose!

Every time I step out my front door I think about the creatures that also call this land home: coyotes and the deer that eat my garden; stinky skunks and a lone weasel; rabbits that also eat my garden; and a family of moose!

It is only a matter of time before all of us have to adapt to the encroachment of the city, or move elsewhere. It will be harder for some than others.

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41 thoughts on “Musings about Moose in my Alberta Yard

  1. I love your love of nature and the moose stories are simply wonderful. No moose in my neck o’ the woods, but lots of deer and all the other critters you mention, plus fox and yes, black bear. They say, “if you think you saw a bear, you have.” They are evidently extremely shy.

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  2. Don’t you just love the wide variety of animal life we have in Canada? I live in a town so don’t have deer around my place, but I do have lots of rabbits hopping through my property and pheasants strutting their stuff around here, too. Thanks for posting the great pics.

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  3. Hi,
    What an amazing sight. They obviously feel safe grazing there, they truly are a magnificent looking animal. It must be lovely to live where you are, to look outside and see some beautiful animals just roaming freely. I live in the city, we still get some animals around but as you can imagine not many.
    We don’t have moose in OZ, except in Wildlife Parks or Zoos.

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    • Hi Mags – Moose sightings are infrequent, so they create quite a stir in the neighbourhood. The school bus driver (and a bus load of kids) were sure excited when they saw the five moose in the field!

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  4. Hi Margie. I was thrilled last December to find a book through Amazon called Moose Magic by Miles Smeeton. Miles and his wife Beryl adopted two orphaned moose (from separate families) in the early 1970s after they purchased land north of Cochrane with the purpose of breeding endangered animals. At the time, the Calgary Zoo had poor success raising moose calves because they so easily caught pneumonia. The Smeetons not only raised the calves, but successfully bred them also. The work they began is now the Cochrane Ecological Institute, which purpose is to breed and restore the swift fox to Canada.

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  5. Moose remind me of adolescents or large puppies; you know all legs and ears. Also, they just turn up expectantly. The photos are great, they look like you could walk up and pet them.

    Ta Ta for now, Cathy the Bagg Lady

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      • I can imagine. When we lived in Southern Oregon we had Bears. The biggest problem was we are bee keepers. Our orchards had to keep double fences to keep out try to keep out the bears–to no avail. We also had elk and they were everywhere!
        By the way-thank you for calling me Cathy, when you call me Raggz it always make me laugh! Ta Ta for now, Cathy the Bagg Lady

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  6. Your moose family is fascinating. We don’t have them in the southern USA (that I know of)
    Living in the country is somewhat like living in an open air aquarium: life swirling around all the time. 🙂

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    • Hi E.C. – Moose prefer temperate to sub-arctic climates and can be found in North America and Europe.
      I like your comparison of country living to an open air aquarium!

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  7. So cool! We once had a moose racing our car when we were in Maine – it came bolting out of the woods alongside the road and ran next to us – we decided to let it pass – it was huge. When we looked at our back windshield and saw it was completely covered with flies, we figured that’s what it was running from.

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  8. How exciting to find moose outside of your window! Although my relationship with the state of Maine (as tourist and resident) has spanned 40 years I have only seen a “free range” moose on one occasion. What a magnificent site!!! I feel privileged to be able to share your love of nature through your blog. Thanks!!

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    • Thanks Carol – We are indeed fortunate to live in a place and a country where so many animals still live a free range life.
      Maine has, apparently, about 29,000 moose. Maine’s size is 35,385 sq miles. My province is 255,500 sq miles and it is estimated that we have about 118,000 moose.

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  9. Your pictures are lovely, as always. Yesterday on the way to work I spotted a really large coyote trotting across a field – there are lots of them about, but they don’t usually let you see them, especially in the daytime. I almost got creamed by the guy coming up fast behind me as I slowed to check it out.

    Today, a bald eagle soared lazily right over my head as I approached the bridge over the river at the edge of town. They always take my breath away! But same deal with a guy in the car behind me. I think I need a sticker: “I brake for the wonders of nature!”

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  10. I would love to see moose for real. In New Hampshire, I can’t remember exactly…15 years ago we deliberately drove down a road hoping to see moose early morning. It was known for moose sights.

    Then there’s Moose Fields in Alberta…where still we didn’t see them.

    So super that you got that many moose in photos!

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    • Hi Jean – Keep looking – you are bound to see one some day!
      Moose try to avoid humans, I think. The moose in our area are much more accustomed to people, I guess.

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