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Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep ewe in the early morning light

Oh how I wish the ladies of this species were as striking as their male counterparts but they simply are not. They are far smaller and oftentimes look kind of scraggly, particularly this time of year when they are still shedding their winter coat. Nevertheless, this morning I felt obligated to take this one’s picture as she seemed quite insistent about it.

A Bighorn Sheep ewe in the early morning sun on top Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ewe in the early morning sun on top Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

“I got up here. Now how do I get down?”

This Bighorn Sheep lamb was proving itself to be quite the adept climber, as all of its kind are. It had worked its ways up the side of a mountain in Colorado’s Waterton Canyon, stopping briefly to pose and look down at the rest of its herd.

It almost seemed like it wasn’t sure how the heck to get down from its perch on high. Of course it had no problem when it decided to rejoin the others.

The Bighorn Sheep is the Centennial State’s official animal and to me that is quite fitting. Just like the terrain and many of its people, these animals are very rugged, strong and tough. The animal is found in many places in the state’s high country.

A Bighorn Sheep lamb enjoys the view from its perch high on the side of a cliff. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep lamb enjoys the view from its perch high on the side of a cliff. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn Sheep lamb hams it up for its portrait

Just like a human child, young animals sometimes seem to revel in having their picture taken. Such was the case with this little lamb in the foothills southwest of Denver, Colorado recently.

While most of the herd ignored me, this one seemed to almost be begging to have its picture taken and of course I was happy to oblige.

Found across much of western North America, Bighorn Sheep are adept mountain climbers, best known for the male ram’s monstrous horns. While the animals are social, rams and ewes typically only meet during mating season. The young are kept on high ledges to help protect them from predators.

A Bighorn Sheep lamb seems to smile as its picture is taken.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep lamb seems to smile as its picture is taken. (© Tony’s Takes)

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep lamb learns to walk on water

Who knew they could do this, eh? 😉 Most of the herd started on the opposite of the South Platte River from me but it wasn’t long before they crossed over. The rams and ewes waded across with out creating a splash but the little ones were not too keen on the depth and speed of the water so they tended to bound across pretty quickly. I was lucky enough to freeze the action of this one as it leaped. Lighting was horrendous with deep shadows but it was fun to see.

A Bighorn Sheep lamb hops across the South Platte River in the Colorado foothills.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep lamb hops across the South Platte River in the Colorado foothills. (© Tony’s Takes)

“Ooh that smell! Can’t you smell that smell?”

Forgive me for borrowing a couple of lines from an old Lynyrd Skynyrd song but that is what came to mind when I saw this. 😉

This Bighorn Sheep ram was clearly in the mood and was non-stop chasing a ewe around the canyon. She was not showing any interest and at one point stopped running to relieve herself. The ram got a good whiff of it and made this face.

This is in fact a behavior called the flehmen response. Many mammals will do this, curling their lips, raising their head and inhaling deeply allowing them to get a better sampling of a particular smell that interests them – kind of like a human taking a big whiff to smell something.

A Bighorn Sheep ram displays the flehmen response after taking a whiff of a female. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram displays the flehmen response after taking a whiff of a female. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn Sheep ram pauses for his portrait

A fun day this past weekend with this big guy as he chased the ladies all over the canyon. I had hoped for a show of head butting with the rams as the rut is getting close but, for some odd reason, this guy was the only one that wanted to come down and play. He was probably quite happy about that as he then had all the ewes to himself. 😉

As he kept watch on the ladies, he paused and looked at me as if to say, “here’s your shot.” I of course took advantage of it and the fall foliage in the background really help to make for a nice image. Taken in Waterton Canyon near Denver, Colorado.

Found across much of western North America, Bighorn Sheep are adept mountain climbers, best known for the male ram’s monstrous horns. While the animals are social, rams and ewes typically only meet during mating season. The young are kept on high ledges to help protect them from predators.

The Bighorn Sheep is the Centennial State’s official animal and to me that is quite fitting. Just like the terrain and many of its people, these animals are very rugged, strong and tough. The animal is found in many places in the state’s high country.

Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully conservation efforts have been successful in helping the sheep rebound since then.

A Bighorn Sheep ram poses in front of fall foliage in the Colorado foothills. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ram poses in front of fall foliage in the Colorado foothills. (© Tony’s Takes)

This one for all the folks here in Colorado

Kickoff for the Rocky Mountain Showdown is in less than a half hour. Where does your allegiance lie? With the Colorado State Rams or Colorado Buffaloes? Do you stand with Cam or Ralphie? I don’t have a preference unless it involves Navy Football.  😉

The Bighorn Sheep - Mascot of the Colorado State University Rams. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Bighorn Sheep – Mascot of the Colorado State University Rams. (© Tony’s Takes)

The American Bison - Mascot of the University of Colorado Buffaloes. (© Tony’s Takes)

The American Bison – Mascot of the University of Colorado Buffaloes. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn Sheep ewe gets her closeup

Most of the Bighorn I have seen this season so far look pretty rough as they shed their winter coats and their summer coats begin to fill in. This pretty lady though looked quite nice and almost seemed to revel in having her picture taken. Best of all, she came right by my truck so I was able to stay nice and warm which was welcome after spending a couple of hours exposed to temperatures in the mid-30s and nasty wind at 14,000+ foot altitude. 😉

A Bighorn Sheep ewe pauses to pose for pictures at the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep ewe pauses to pose for pictures at the top of Mount Evans in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little Bighorn keeps watch from on high

Bighorn Sheep lambs may not be all that big but they are nearly as adept at climbing as the adults. The rugged landscape of Colorado’s foothills is a great place for the young ones to learn and while a human would struggle, the lambs scale the rocks and steep slopes with ease. This young ram was more interested in playing with some of the other young members of the herd but did stop to check out the photographers gathered below.

Found across much of western North America, Bighorn Sheep are adept mountain climbers, best known for the adult male ram’s monstrous horns. While the animals are social, rams and ewes typically only meet during mating season. Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully #conservation efforts have been successful in helping the sheep rebound since then.

A curious Bighorn Sheep lamb keeps watch from the side of a mountain.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A curious Bighorn Sheep lamb keeps watch from the side of a mountain. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bighorn Sheep ram gets caught with its mouth full

My kids used to eat their spaghetti a lot like this guy was eating his grass. 😉

Taken this past November, this young ram was one of about a dozen Bighorns hanging out along the South Platte River in Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver. There is a lot of recreational traffic in the canyon so the herd there is very used to people allowing you get up close and personal with them.

Found across much of western North America, Bighorn Sheep are adept mountain climbers, best known for the adult male ram’s monstrous horns. While the animals are social, rams and ewes typically only meet during mating season. Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully conservation efforts have been successful in helping the sheep rebound since then.

A Bighorn Sheep munches on grass in Waterton Cayon. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bighorn Sheep munches on grass in Waterton Cayon. (© Tony’s Takes)