Mountain Mamas

Anyone who knows me very well at all knows that the mountain regions of Colorado are among my favorite places on the entire planet.  Any excuse to go there is just fine with me.   Alan and I recently attended a conference in Denver.   Denver is not actually in the mountains.  But it is close.   “Close”,  and an extra day or two is all I need to make a trek up into the high country!

We spent a couple of days way up in the heavens.   One of my favorite mammals to watch is the mountain goat.   They were out in droves.    Actually there were three different family groups that we discovered and spent time with.   Mountain goats are wonderful about sharing their space with people, as long as young children are not present.    Children make them nervous and even a little aggressive (I see eye to eye with them on this 🙂 ).

June is baby time in the mountains.   Each family group of mountain goats had its own tiny, fuzzy white babies.   Mountain goats form tight family groups of related females.    Males are off on their own in the high country.   They all come together during the mating season.

(Below) What kind of mother would allow her child to stand on the edge of a cliff?   A mountain goat mother.   This is where the goats feel safest.   Predators wouldn’t be very likely to spend time here.    The only exception is the Golden Eagle.   This fierce raptor is the number one predator of mountain goat babies.   They swoop down and knock them off of rocky cliff edges just like this one.   So a diligent mountain goat nanny keeps an eye on the sky!


(Below) There is nothing like a nice firm mattress!   A mountain mama and baby rest together.    Although Mountain goats are devoted parents, they will not except the presence of a baby other then their own, even if it is in the same family group.   The mama will push another baby away, forcing it to give her some space.   They know their own babies from sight and scent and can tell them apart even from a distance.


This baby below is about one and a half weeks old.    He was a wobbly fellow on his chubby legs.   Someday he will scale great cliff sides like an acrobat.  But for now, simply balancing on this rounded rock provides a nice challenge.


Below, a mother leads her baby up the  mountainside.   The one clamoring up the rocks in the center of the picture is hers.  The other standing on the rock is looking for her own mother.   When she spots her, she will follow along.


(Below)  Two babies nuzzle each other.   Baby mountain goats are VERY playful.  They bounce around on chubby spring-loaded legs.  Then when they tire, they come together and snuggle.   The baby on the left below is only a little more than a week old…


Sometimes it’s good to have a friend…