Just before giving birth, a cow elk will leave the herd and select a safe birthing place.

This is probably because predators can easily detect large groups of elk and mothers wish to remain separate until their calves are adept enough (usually about two weeks of age) to run.

This particular elk chose to drop her youngin’ right next to the Mammoth Hot Springs Visitor Center!

🙂 🙂 🙂

11 thoughts on “First Moments

  1. So moving. Beautiful job, John. The music was a perfect addition, matching all the grace.
    In the ‘Wobbly Legs’ section I could not help but think (and experience) the incredible flow of love between the newborn and mother in those first moments. Here is the source of light and love and life, nourishment, tenderness, stunning intensity as she licks the infant’s face.
    More poignant still your closing of the babe alone. Which made me think again that everything the mother has to give and teach is in those first minutes encapsulated. And who knows what’s next.
    You see so much.


    • With that last shot of the calf cozily ensconced in the corner of the walkway to a busy building, I was struck by how she has “imprinted” upon that stone structure. And also that the mother, who was not in visual contact, around the corner but ears perked and eyes very much on the lookout, was letting her youngin’ grow up by herself.


  2. Beautiful!
    Was housekeeping an injestion of the afterbirth stuff, like placenta et al?
    I know new mothers who freeze dry their placenta to ingest later for anti-depression. This makes it seem not so un-natural.


    • Yes, that was the afterbirth which I watched her expel (rather gross!) and eat. If you are making that up about freeze-drying placentas, that’s hilarious. If not – then, man, there’s so much I don’t know about women!!! 🙂


  3. Freeze dried placentas…. taking natural to a whole new level. I’m female, but that’s a new one on me, too. The elk mom apparently is worried about depression, too. 😀


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