Early Rising Brings Wildlife Pleasure

By Dave Hanks

Dawn is anticipation
And freshness and new born joy

When reading the Audubon Magazine, we noticed an item about the new Chairman of the association’s board of directors. He was asked what it was about nature that gave him the greatest pleasure. He replied, “The two hours between dark and dawn.”

When I was a youth in college, I could have easily slept most of the morning. Now (youth a distant past) I find that I have become a morning person – in summer often arising at 5:00 A.M. to get my work done before the day heats up. Not only is the coolness more conducive for working, but there’s a delicious freshness to the early morning that gives an added amount of vigor.

For anyone who is interested in wildlife, there are other reasons to be out and about early. Those two hours of light (a big chunk before the sun actually rises) provides the greatest chance to experience the nocturnal creatures before they retire for the day. Like me, they are “keen” to avoid the mid-day heat. And it’s so pleasant to have the natural world all to yourself for a couple of hours before the populous emerges from their abodes at about 9:00 to 10:00 A.M. Picture taking goes much more smoothly when you don’t have to worry about disruptions to a tenuous photographic situation.

Moose are a prime example of the two hours of opportunity. To observe them, you’d better be out of bed or the chances to see them drastically diminish. Daylight usually makes them take cover in the willows or other vegetation of their habitat. The Bull Moose pictured was very close by our campsite. If we hadn’t gotten up early, we probably would not have even known that he was around. Many camping neighbors did not see him.

The times of freshness  
Are so short and fleeting
With energy present and then soon gone

(Resting after foraging through the night and early morning)