September 19, 2008

Signs of Fall

Elk are bugling! It's a Fall thing we listen for. It's a 'rut' thing. Out of curiosity I looked up rut in my desktop dictionary: "an annual period of sexual activity in deer and some other animals, during which the males fight each other for access to the females" - that's it! That's what happens, sex education, from our windows' views. (Our houseguest was awakened last night by one bugling "by my window"!) 

The bulls bugle, beginning in late August, the females having hormone surges throughout Fall. They're trying to sound bigger than the other and see who can gather the largest harem. Sometimes we hear (and watch) the clashing of antlers, as they fight for supremacy. Then the rest of the year the big bulls are off in their all male fraternity clubs. (I might pull a picture from the internet Brian :-) (I don't have any pics in my computer photos, but I do think we have more pictures of elk than we have of our kids! I tease Monte.)

Like I posted last Spring, I used to make a Fall chart too, for the kids. Now it's just ingrained that we're aware of the Fall changes. Like the hummingbirds leave after Labor Day, and we look for the flocking of bluebirds or robins, as they're readying to leave for the winter. I always write the first frost on the calendar (last year's was Sept 3) - which we've not had yet this year, which is late (and very nice!). I love looking for the color changes. (We may see Wisconsin's and New England's colors this year!) I've got bear postings on my calendar too, like the time a bear had a well-rounded meal from our freezer!

Aha! I got the elk picture from Dawson's photoblog from last October that he titled "The Sacred Cows of Evergreen". I wish we could have captured pics of all the things we've seen in elk antlers: Christmas lights, hoses, clotheslines with dragging poles (that woke us one night!), our kid's big-wheel, and almost our dogs! We were awakened one night by the house shaking: the bull saw his reflection in our window and thought he'd 'fight' with it! It didn't break our "Hurd" window!! 
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