Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Animals Eating Dead Elk

A few weeks ago, I did a post about an elk that was killed by a mountain lion. A camera was set up to document what came and fed on the elk. Finally the photos came back, and today we're going to look at what feasts on a huge dead bull elk. Before you look at the photos, take a guess. What do you think eats a dead elk?

A mountain lion showed up. This wasn't much of a surprise, because it was a mountain lion that killed the elk. An elk will provide food for almost a week for a single lion. For some reason the photos came out double-exposed, so that's why there are some extra shadows in there. One of the nice things about the wildlife cameras is they will provide a date and time stamp so you know when the creature walked in front of the camera. I enhanced these photos since they were taken at twilight.

Here's the lion again. You can just imagine the power in those legs, and the stealth of the cat as it took down the much bigger animal. 

I went on this trail the other day, and when I got in the area of the elk, I just kept on a'movin', hoping the lion didn't look at me as easy meat. Most likely the lion has moved far off, but you never know.

There's something about not being the top of the food chain that makes me feel a little more alive. Really.

It was cold, as you can see by all the snow, so the elk meat was frozen. I bet it's not as tasty frozen as when it's warm just after the kill. I'm just guessing here, I have to admit I haven't done any taste tests. Nor am I planning to. (You weren't thinking I would, right?)

You have to look closely at this photo to see what's feasting on the elk now. It's night, and a nocturnal animal is in the body cavity. It's black and white with a bushy tail.

Here's a better shot of the spotted skunk, successful in grabbing a piece of the meat. Spotted skunks are rarely seen in this neck of the woods, so it was exciting to get a picture of it.

Now it's daylight. (I cropped the picture if you wondered what happened to the date and time stamp.) What's the blue thing next to the elk carcass? Does it have feathers?

Sure enough, it's a bird, a Steller's Jay to be exact. Okay, I definitely wasn't expecting a Steller's Jay to be posing on the elk carcass.

The camera took more photos after this set taken in late December, so it will be a matter of time to see if any other animals made use of this "free" source of food. And that's all for today. I need to go make some food. Yum.


The Incredible Woody said...

The cycle of life is amazing.

Ed said...

Hmm, never knew that skunks were carnivorous (or perhaps omnivores). What are you using for a camera - a Nikon setup or one of the out of the box scouting cameras?

Sarah said...

Wow, great photos! Do tell us what was used, as these are among some of the best shots I've seen from a wildlife camera. Or are you just that good with photo enhancement ;)?

eped said...

wonderful photos all around. not just the ghost lion, but all these little charaters posing with the carcass. like pilgrims to some great spectacle.
thanks for posting

Anonymous said...

mmmm, elk, it's what for dinner

Caroline said...

I'm glad to see that the elk fed more creatures than just the lion. If it has to die, then, good food for all.

Great post!

Ryan said...

Very cool lion photos, I like the skunk too!!

trav4adventures said...

I'm surprised at the jay. Hmmm...I'm going to look at them with new eyes from now on. Cool photos!

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