|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I'm reaching back in my archives a bit here so I hope you don't mind. These Mountain Goats were captured near Tangle Falls on the Icefield Parkway in Jasper National Park. It was taken just after sunrise and I was lucky enough to find them still bedded down where they spent the night. I had spotted them in the area the day before so I was hoping that I would get a chance at them again. Although this looks flat the terrain here is quite steep and I was diffinately winded when I climbed out.|
By Gustave J. Yaki
Fossils of Mountain Goats date back to about 15 million years of age. Not a true goat at all, they belong to a small group of mountain antelope. They occur in mountainous western North America from southern Alaska, Yukon and the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories to northern Washington, Idaho, northeast Oregon and western Montana. Within Alberta, their range is along the AB.-B.C. border in the Rockies. Within their range, they have a spotty distribution as they are restricted to suitable habitat.
Their preferred habitat is some of the most rugged terrain imaginable, particularly steep slopes and benches along cliffs, often at or above timberline into alpine meadows up to the limit of vegetation at about 2400 m (8000 ft.) elevation. They feed throughout the day, with peaks at dawn and dusk. Their summer diet is mainly grasses, sedges and rushes. In winter, up to 25% of their food is conifers -- Douglas-fir and Alpine Firs. They can easily jump 3 m (10 ft.) from one ledge to another. Their white coat undoubtedly helps them to blend into the lingering snow patches. During winter storms, they sometimes resort to caves for protection against the weather.
They have remarkable eyesight for they notice movement at least 1.6 km (1 mile) away. Their sense of smell may be equally acute but shifting air currents in their mountainous terrain make it less reliable for detecting their predators. The main ones are Mountain Lions (Cougars), particularly when sheltering in caves, and Golden Eagles which prey on kids straying too far from their mother. Grizzly Bears, Wolverines, Wolves and Coyotes may opportunistically take some, too.
Although hunted by humans, their flesh is considered unpalatable by present standards. They are now only sought as trophies. Their woolly undercoat is finer than that of cashmere. This fine fleece was used by northwest coast natives to weave the famous Chilkat blankets.
Mountain Goats are moderately gregarious. Females and their young form groups usually of less than ten in summer. Males live solo or in loose association with other billies, joining the nannies only in the autumn. The rutting period is in November. Males rarely fight each other but when they do, it is vicious as they try to gore each other's flanks. Following a gestation of about 178 days, in late May or early June, the kids are born, most often as singles but in 25% of the cases, twins. Triplets are rare. They weigh from 2.9 to 3.8 kg (average 7 lbs.). They nurse frequently but at about one week they start to nibble on grasses. They are weaned at about six weeks. They remain with their mother throughout the winter, but are rebuffed by her before the birth of the new offspring. They follow her, however, at a distance, during the second summer. The young females are reproductively mature at 27 months, the males at 39 months. The may live for 12 years in the wild.
NinaM, eqshannon, bobair, uleko, Scott has marked this note useful
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- [2007-12-07 9:51]
We who live in northern latitudes need to dig into our archives at this time of the year!
Nice presentation of a family of Mountain Goats, their white coats contrastuing well with the natural BG. Fine pose and POV.
Thanks for sharing this and have a good weekend.
- [2007-12-07 10:33]
Hi Rick, very nice picture, I like the fact that you found them where they sleep and very seldom do we know about animals and how/where they sleep. I'm very curious about those facts, like where and how do birds sleep?
I like your composition on this photo, the baby goat in front with the other ones alternating between logs. The colours are nice, very natural, and the point of view real nice. Thank you Rick,
Fall is definite the time of year to photograph these. We got some nice shots last spring but they sure looked ratty when they were shedding. Looks like you lost a bit of sharpness with the slow shutter speed. It is a great capture. I wish Jasper weren't so far away from home.
Evelynn : )
Beautiful and early capture!
I like the group of m. goats and scene displayed here, an uncommon one to me.
I figured they were keeping warm themselves being so close to each other.
Well done and thanks for share it.
My best regards,
What a wonderful lesson from almost 3 years ago! Nothing looses value in this respect Rick and the depth of field is just right eno9ugh to give it an interesting long angle effect. Nicely seen.
- [2007-12-07 21:48]
feel free to reach back as far as you like as we have all come to expect yet an other superb photo of life on our good old earth as taken by you.There is an over all softness to this photo but not too much.The details are good and best of all it is a family group relaxing and it must of been relaxing for you at the time of the shot.Keep 'em coming as your photos are very entertaining and the notes you include are informative as well. Tfs. Bob
- [2007-12-10 7:35]
What a lovely experience to see these beautiful Mountain Goats in the wild and how clever to get so near them! They look so peaceful resting there and you've got them beautifully in focus showing sharp details and fine colours. Very interesting note too.
Many thanks, Ulla
- [2007-12-11 2:48]
Really increadable, I have seen them only from a distance, small white dots on a cliff. And they get smaller faster if they saw me. I liked the note, good DOF you had to be pretty close at 170mm. You didn't blow out the white which is easy to do.