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Bighorn Sheep Chewing

Bighorn Sheep Chewing
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-29
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Bayram's Favorites-1, CeltickRanger's favorite wild animal photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-06-10 8:42
Viewed: 5259
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this shot of a youngish Bighorn Sheep by the side of the road on the Icefields Parkway about 2-3 miles north of the Athabasca Glacier. I was on foot and the shot is handheld with my 300mm 2.8 + 1.4x converter.

The Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) is one of three species of mountain sheep in North America and Siberia; the other two species being Ovis dalli, that includes Dall Sheep and Stone's Sheep, and the Siberian Snow sheep Ovis nivicola.

Wild sheep crossed the Bering land bridge from Siberia during the Pleistocene (~750,000 years ago) and, subsequently, spread through western North America as far south as Baja California and northern mainland Mexico. Divergence from their closest Asian ancestor (Snow sheep) occurred about 600,000 years ago. In North America, wild sheep have diverged into two extant species -- Dall sheep that occupy Alaska and northwestern Canada, and bighorn sheep that range from southern Canada to Mexico. However, the status of these species is questionable given that hybridization has occurred between them in their recent evolutionary history.

Bighorn Sheep are named for the large, curved horns borne by the males, or rams. Females, or ewes, also have horns, but they are short with only a slight curvature. They range in colour from light brown to grayish or dark, chocolate brown, with a white rump and lining on the back of all four legs. Rocky Mountains bighorn females weigh up to 200 pounds (90 kg), and males occasionally exceed 300 pounds (135 kg). In contrast, Sierra Nevada bighorn females weigh about 140 pounds (63 kg) with males weighing around 200 pounds (90 kg). Males' horns can weigh up to 30 lb (14 kg), as much as the rest of the bones in the male's body.

Bighorn sheep graze on grasses and browse shrubs, particularly in fall and winter, and seek minerals at natural salt licks. Bighorns are well adapted to climbing steep terrain where they seek cover from predators such as coyotes, eagles, and cougars. They live in large herds, but do not have the strict dominance hierarchy of the mouflon: that is, they do not automatically follow a single leader ram, unlike the Asiatic ancestors of the domestic sheep.

Prior to the mating season or "rut", the rams attempt to establish a dominance hierarchy that determines access to ewes for mating. It is during the prerut period that most of the characteristic horn clashing occurs between rams, although this behavior may occur to a limited extent throughout the year. Ram's horns can frequently exhibit damage from repeated clashes. Bighorn ewes exhibit a six-month gestation. In temperate climates, the peak of the rut occurs in November with one, or rarely two, lambs being born in May. The lambs are then weaned when they reach 4-6 months.

Bighorn sheep are highly susceptible to certain diseases carried by domestic sheep such as scabies and pneumonia; additional mortality occurs as a result of accidents involving rock fall or falling off cliffs (a hazard of living in steep, rugged terrain).

jusninasirun, Luis52, jaycee, Dis. Ac., vanderschelden, boreocypriensis, Royaldevon, pekkavalo1, Heaven, ramthakur, haraprasan, bahadir, Argus, GLEM, lovenature has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello James. This is one stunning shot on this hilly slope. Nice sharp capture with excellent detail and clarity. Thanks for sharing and best regards. Jusni

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-06-10 9:49]

Hola James.
What can I say? I wish I could do take a excellent photo like this one. The pose, light, and sharpness in high quality. Beautiful!!!

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-06-10 9:50]

Hi James,

Great timing to get this wonderful shot of the chewing Bighorn Sheep. The focus on the face is superb - we can see the mouth going. Eyes, nose, horns, coat all have fine details and nice natural colors. Great natural setting.


Hello james,

another great picture, exellent pov and dof.
Very good natural colours.


Hello James,
Excellent image. Very sharp. Concerning the former it is apparent you didn't loose quality through your 1,4x converter.
Well done overall..

Hahaha. Seee look this prety guy:) Splendid and cute capture of this resting Bighorn Sheep:) Lovely... I love his facaial expression:) Great shot. I love these animals:) [I think i am a capricorn:)]. TFS my friend James. This is should take its place in my favs.:D



Hello James,

It is a good job that these delightful animals have a good sense of balance and are so sure footed! This looks a very precarious spot!
I like your pov, showing the details of the bighorn and the steep slope upon which he is balanced. Excellent composition.

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

Hi James,

Very good picture of this Bighorn Sheep. Good pose, POV and composition, sharp details and natural colours.



hello James

what a great shot of the Bighorn Sheep, with very fine POV,
DOF and framing, great sharpness and details
and a wonderful eye-contact of the subject with you, TFS


  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2008-06-10 21:24]

Hi James!

You present us a beautiful picture of a bighorn in its typical natutal environement. It's an impressive animal and I like the unity of the colour tones in the picture very much.

Kind regards


This guy seems to be very satisfied with life at the moment, James.
Seems like he had had his fill and is now enjoying life on a scree slope.
Very sharp and crisp image with your big lens.
Thanks for sharing the picture and enjoy your walks.

Hi James,
A nice capture of this sheep. Excellent composition and sharp details. Very good expression capture. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hello James, wonderful capture of this cute horned sheep. TFS. Regards,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-06-11 4:05]

Hello James,
I like the way you caught the side movement of the jaw as this Bighorn is chewing the cud, though it is hard to image that it could find much to eat on this bare mountain slope. Great POV, sharpness and just the right DOF to show this one well in its natural environment.
Regards, Ivan

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-06-11 12:55]

Excellent capture, James!
Really good depth and superb DOF.
Very sharp and crisp.
Brilliant pose.

Well done!


p.s did you say you were going to email me? :-)

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2008-06-11 13:50]

salut Peter,
belle image nature pas très facile d'approche. J'aime la composition sobre et la profondeur de champ limitée.


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-06-12 7:54]

Hello James
I really like the composition,it has a nice diagonal look.
The focus is sharp with excellent detail.
The pov and dof are very good.
Great job.

Clear shot for the distance. You cropped it nicely as well. It's a wonderful subject considering the amount of character he has. TFS Trevor

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