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A Moose in Labor

Spending time outside is a must if you live in Alaska. Yes, there is plenty of time spent gaining invaluable work experience while inside the walls of the radio station. But when you have free time, Alaska is a great place for people who like to hang with Mother Nature.

My most memorable moment with nature over the past year came last May, when I was with a friend from town and two of my roommates. We were wandering down one of the roads that lead out of Nome in our vehicle in search of seals. It was a late spring evening and we had been told it was a good time to look for seals perched on the melting sea ice. We did end up seeing a few seals, but that wasn’t the highlight of the evening. We also encountered a moose. On the left side of the road we saw her sitting just a few dozen meters off to the side, so we pulled the truck over. Since none of us are originally from Alaska, moose are still a novelty.

What we didn’t realize when we first stopped was that the moose was in the middle of giving birth. After a moment, we noticed a small, wet looking calf laying next to her. Then, just a minute or two later, she stood up and heaved out a second calf. The whole experience was like watching a nature program on TV. We turned our truck off and sat on the side of the road, passing binoculars back and forth to one another for about an hour. We watched as the two new calves struggled to stand for the first time and continually topple over. The mother, though obviously exhausted, did her best to clean her new babies, but kept having to lay back down, sometimes even accidentally bumping into one of her calves and knocking them off of their feet again.

The experience was a once in a lifetime deal, but that seems to be the theme when you live in bush Alaska.