Gail made it official that our spokesmoose for the 09 conference is
Francine, whose photo I sent to her and to a few other GNSI people.
Francine Alces alces was born here about 3 years ago. I remember her
as a calf with her mom at my pond. I have a snapshot of her jumping out
of the tall grass where her mother had hidden her and rushing into the
pond to her mother when she saw me. Her mom lifted her head from eating
delicious whatevers under the water, looked at me, calmly turned and
nudged baby into the woods where they both immediately disappeared. I
saw them from time to time that summer and the mother never seemed
disturbed by my presence. I made sure never to yield to the temptation
to ease closer, but I did talk to her. They have great hearing and she
would twitch her ears (never once did her ears go back in a threatening
position). I never name wildlife but I named the mom Francine, and the
calf, when I saw it was female, Francine Jr.
This summer Francine (Jr), a fine looking young moose, came back to the
pond. I see her regularly and try not to disturb her. Recently I took a
photograph of her and emailed it to a few GNSI people. One person
questioned whether the moose was pregnant. She did look hefty, but
because we had such a severe winter I figured she was just filling up
on tasty greenery. It is too late in the season here for moose births.
So I said, no, and hypothesized that she was just making up for a lean
I was walking in the woods early this morning and thought I caught a
faint whiff of death. I investigated and, sure enough, there was a
stillborn baby moose in a location that would be typical of an
undisturbed moose birth, in the ferns. I have no idea why a baby moose
would be born here so late in the season. In neighborhing New
Hampshire, which is considerably south of here, they are born in mid
May to mid June, and it is about their second or third year that they
have their first calf. This birth was no more than a couple of days
ago. I am hoping that the coyotes do not want it and that I can salvage
some bones for study. Will check with the local game warden.