Friday, March 10, 2017

They flow across the prairie

Where I live there are more pronghorn than there are people. 

I am just as thrilled to see antelope running on the prairie as I am to see the wild horses. I often imagine a great herd of Buffalo moving across the Divide Basin, along with the pronghorn, like it used to be.

The antelope survived.

An extension of the University of Wyoming, Casper College sits just below the mountains on the edge of town. In spring I can park right next to the Fine arts building, sit in my car and watch groups of pronghorn dig their noses for new sprouts under what little snow is left.

While out scouting bands of Mustangs throughout Wyoming, I've been lucky enough to see large antelope herds, as they gather together in the winter time. I've seen them race across the Basin at top speed and it is one of the most astonishing sights to behold.

When I read his book RAISING WILD, Michael P. Branch points out something about antelope that completely amazes me;

"The pronghorn winter herd displays the skill of being synchronized to a degree of precision. When the herd moves across the land, it exhibits a 97 percent synchrony of gait, which means that whether there are twenty pronghorn or two hundred, 97 percent of them will put their four hooves on the ground in exactly the same sequence and at exactly the same time. Pronghorn have at least four gaits, or running patterns, but even when they shift from one to another at high speed, there remains better than 90 percent synchrony in the herd. Even in the exact instant they change their hoof sequence and timing while running at forty or fifty miles per hour, 93 percent of them will do so at precisely the same time--and the rest will correct at a fraction of a second."

He goes on to say, "Although I have witnessed the full winter herd only once, there is no possibility that I will ever forget it. These animals don't appear to run at all but instead seem to flow across the land."

I find this phenomenal, don't you?

 

16 comments:

  1. yes :: phenomenal. synchronicity in nature.

    beautiful post, red dirt.


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  2. I love them and their long eyelashes. Great photos as always!

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    1. Their big beautiful eyes, I know!
      Thanks friend. (I miss you so much. Meet in Thermop!)
      x

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  3. That's an amazing factoid. Of course I hope to get a few antelope shots as well as mustangs.

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    1. Plenty of both for your viewing pleasure, Jerry! :)

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  4. I'm obsessed with antelope - and even more now.

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    1. Me too, Alyssa!
      Do you see many around your homestead?

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  5. They are truly beautiful animals. Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. Those animals are eye candy, yah? :)

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  6. True spirits of the west. I, too, wish the bison covered the prairie. Its not right they aren't among the lopers & the mustangs. I would never tire of seeing the the Pronghorns.Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Exactly. Spirits of the west.
      I could stare at them all day, Sheree.
      x

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  7. They are some beautiful creatures and your photos are gorgeous! I do believe I can see your soul flow with them as the glide across the prairie.
    xx

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    1. I love that you said that. I feel so connected to everything when I'm out there.
      Thank you, Julie.
      x

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  8. Amazing photos, so crisp and clear and heartwarming.
    Happy spring...soon!
    XO
    Dagmar

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    1. Oh, hello! Are you back from one of your excursions?
      Thanks for stopping by, Dagmar. Glad you enjoyed the prongers. :)

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