Wildlife Whereabouts: Summer is Here!

Photo courtesy of Jerry Herman.

Long days and warm temperatures mark summer’s arrival in Grand Teton National Park. As daily high temperatures rise with the season, mid-day animal activity will be reduced considerably. Be sure to get out early in the morning or later in the evening for your best chance to see some of the park’s incredible wildlife.

• Wolf, coyote, and fox pups from successfully reproducing packs or pairs have now emerged from their dens. They do not stray too far from their dens, rendezvous sites, or the watchful eye of adults. They are out and about, learning from the new world around them while playing and growing rapidly.

• Trumpeter swan eggs are hatching. Young swans, or cygnets, are typically light gray in color and can swim within 24 hours of hatching. They will be roughly three and a half to four months old before they take their first flight.

• The spring birth pulse for Jackson Hole ungulates (mammals with hooves) is winding down. Most ungulate babies are on their feet and able to move the day they are born. Some, like bison, use the follower strategy, where the new calves stay with their mothers at all times. Others, like deer, elk, and pronghorn, use the hider strategy, where mothers often hide their newborn fawns or calves and return to them periodically to nurse.

• Moose are VERY protective of their young. Please be cautious and give them a wide berth.

• Marmots, one of the largest mammals in the squirrel family, are active and feeding primarily in the morning and evening and rest during the heat of the day.

• Neotropical birds, such as ruby crowned kinglets, western tanagers, and hummingbirds, have returned and are busy breeding and raising young.

• Grizzly bear 399 is 23 years old this year. As usual, she has been commonly seen from roadsides, so please drive slowly and be vigilant for wildlife at all times, particularly after dark or at dawn/dusk.

• Due to the wet spring, mosquitoes are now out in force (but vary in abundance across the landscape), providing food to birds, bats, fish, and other species.

• This year’s abundant spring rains have resulted in tremendous vegetation growth, particularly among grasses and forbs, which will benefit many species of wildlife.

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