Friday, October 30, 2015

Bighorn Sheep

This year was extraordinary in that Erika and I made major two road-trips. I have recounted the first, to Texas and Florida. The second was a non-birding jaunt to Olympia to welcome a grandson into this world. The trip out was quick, with our arriving two days before the due date. We entertained our grand-daughter while our children attended to birthing.

On 6 July 2015, we drove to Spearfish by way of the Badlands National Park. This park is always a pleasant diversion. We looked forward to visiting the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail, but we found the trail parking lot overrun with road construction equipment. 

We did find a large herd of Mountain (or Bighorn) Sheep. Despite many trips out to the national park, we had never before encountered Mountain Sheep. As I explained in a previous post, no Mountain Sheep in South Dakota is native—all are the result of repeated introductions. Native sheep became extinct in the early 1900s. Bighorns are not long-lived, succumbing to disease, starvation, poor weather, and predators (Higgins et al. 2000).

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