SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Prognhorn (antelope) makes itself at home in yard

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has reported that this winter's severity has presented significant problems for big game that can't get to the grass to eat and have had to stand or walk in snow up and over their bellies. This created serious safety problems for the big game as they were grouping up next to RR tracks (where a number of elk were killed) and next to highways putting them at risk of being hit by vehicles and also a risk to those in the vehicles. So the Division of Wildlife went out to clear places for the big game in the snow.

Most recently the Division of Wildlife (DOW)began putting special feed for them. Special feed is necessary as they must have the correct bacteria in their intestinal system to digest the food. In fact the DOW said that such food as hay for cows is undigestible and they could starve to death even with a belly full of it.

So while I was in La Junta I saw the pronghorn (they really are just proghorn and not antelope; in fact, they are in family all their own) feeding on the turf grass in someone's yard. I watched it for a few minutes as it ate, then lay down on the soft grass to rest. I have seen lots of deer in residential areas and yards as well as a number of elk, but this is the first time I have seen a pronghorn in a yard. In fact, I don't recall seeing a pronghorn that wasn't terribly shy (they can run as fast as 60 mph and I have certainly seen them sprint away quickly when I have stopped my car too close). I guess this proghorn found this snow-free luscious lawn too good to pass up even if it meant being around humans. (note: I took these pics about 150 feet away from the pronghorn so as not to disturb it so I have had to edit the photos to lighten them)

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