What You'll See:
In this sequence you'll see a large herd bull with a large group of cows and calves along with a number of younger "satellite" bulls, and a cow that's clearly starting to come into estrous. This sequence has a variety of both cow and bull vocalizations, as well as another great example of the behavior exhibited by both a mature bull and a cow as they court one another before breeding.
Setting the Stage:
The animals in this sequence were on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, and feeding out in a fairly large clearing adjacent to a well-traveled road, and roughly 300 or so yards from another large herd bull and his cows. Filmed in early October, most of the breeding in this area was already done, so the cows were starting to group back up for the winter, with an increasing number of younger bulls starting to once again gather around the cow groups. While most of the breeding in this area was likely over, however, there was at least one cow in the group that was starting to come into estrous. In this sequence, we'll see the cow become increasingly interested in "flirting" with the herd bull as she gets closer to coming into peak estrous. Because of that, the herd bull was fairly active in both his vocalizing, and his physical activity while courting the cow and chasing off other bulls.
Viewing / Listening Tips:
A few vocalizations are extremely quiet, so turn your volume up as high as you comfortably can, or use headphones/earbuds.
Because the elk were active next to a well-used road, from time to time passing vehicles would pull up next to us to watch the elk as well. While the microphone we use diminishes most of the background noise and sound coming from behind the camera in "typical" situations, it can't eliminate loud vehicle sounds or talking that occurs close to the mic. While you'll hear background vehicle noise and talking from time to time, for the most part you'll be able to "tune it out" and focus on the elk activity and the vocalizations.
As in the other videos, for vocalizations that are labeled, those that are identified inside parenthesis denote vocalizations made by animals OFF-SCREEN; no parenthesis are vocalizations made by animals ON-SCREEN.
Levels 2 & 3 Dominant Bugles, Check Bugles, Glunks, Huffs, Whines (bull), Chirps (calf), Contact Mews, Lost Mews, Selfish Mews, Long Mews, and Frustrated Whines