Moose Watching in the Adirondacks
It is true: moose are making a comeback in the Adirondacks. You really can go "moose watching!"
According to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation biologist, Ed Reed, the Adirondack Region of New York is experiencing a biological comeback of the species Alces alces. In a recent interview, Ed describes a late 1980's moose-wandering craze that swept from Maine and Canada, across New England and led to the recolonization of moose in the Adirondacks. The moose repopulation that has picked up steam in the last twenty years here in New York State has been occurring across New England for the past thirty-five years. The State of Maine and the Province of Quebec are the main seed sources for the Adirondack recolonization. It is an amazing but little known fact that moose also like to swim across Lake Champlain from Vermont just to get to the Adirondacks. I guess they've heard about the awesome Adirondack lifestyle!
Biologist Ed says the Adirondacks have a breeding population of moose that is now well established and self-sustaining, and the moose population will grow exponentially. After much sophisticated and thorough analysis, he recently increased the Adirondack moose population estimate to approximately 800.
Because of this recent moose explosion, I have had the pleasure of seeing moose in the Adirondacks. I first became interested in, and then intrigued with moose several years ago during my Northern Exposure phase. I had never seen a moose in person and I was dubious the animal shown during the opening of each show was really that large. Turns out, they are. They are also amazing creatures and if our luck holds and biology works like it usually does, we can look forward to more frequent moose sightings throughout the Adirondacks.
If you share my fixation with these eerily huge animals and would like to try and catch a glimpse of one, what follows are some viewing tips for moose watching in the Adirondacks during late fall and winter. Because moose eat so much browse; 40-50 pounds a day of bark, leaves, twigs, and buds of hardwood and softwood trees and shrubs, they spend most of their time looking for and consuming these things. They prefer to eat from willows, birches, maples, balsam fir, viburnums, aspen, and mountain ash trees, and in the winter may strip and eat the bark from small trees, usually maples and aspen. Therefore, driven by hunger, the best place to find moose this time of year is in mature mixed forest with open areas created by burns or logging. When it is really cold out, they like to catch some rays and can be seen lying down on sunny, south-facing slopes. Although there are some moose hot spots, they've been spotted throughout the Adirondacks.
If you would like to read more about moose in the Adirondacks, you can visit my blog, Adirondack Lifestyle, where I indulge my fixation and have an extensive archive of columns and frequent updates about moose in the Adirondacks.
All content and photographs property of and used with permission from Joann Sandone Reed and Adirondack Lifestyle.