More Wolf Activity

Some years, no matter how often I think I am observing, I rarely see wolves. This year is truly an exception. It probably helps that more of us are watching, as Greg and the kids keep a sharp eye out for any sightings. So it is that this morning, Robert alerted us to some wolf activity once again out on the ice. I heard him run from our room to his (to get his binocualars), and then he hollered down to us that there were three wolves. We grabbed binoculars and ran upstairs, where the view is least obstructed. He thought that he had initially spotted four, but only three were visible then. I thought that it was five, but the ravens had discovered the wolves also. Without binoculars, I was mistaking some little black blobs for small wolves. So I went outside, down near our landing, to stand near the dock to watch.

Before long, I counted five for certain. Most of them stopped and laid down on the ice, while a smaller one leaped and played with the others. Then I saw another join the five, so we were up to six. I was pretty excited, as that is the most I'd seen at one time. One of the pack had a bone or something, and another stole it from him and sat down to slurp on it. They looked alot like they had the other day, which I had written about previously. They seemed to be satiated, relaxed, and willing to spend some time letting me watch them. I knew that they were aware of me, as they kept looking towards the south shore.

I went inside to tell the kids that there were six. Robert and I went back upstairs, and when he looked through his binoculars, he said, "Well, actually, Mom, I count eleven." I grabbed my binocs, counted, and sure enough, there were eleven of them! I had to let the others know. I ran downstairs, and then outside to tell Greg, who was talking to our neighbor John. We all went down to the lake, and the eleven were still there. Once again, some were resting while others were on the move. They eventually made their way completely to the Canadian shore, and vanished into the woods.

While we watched them, we talked about how many deer they would need to sustain a pack so large. I went to do some checking online, and learned that typically, a wolf will eat up to one-fifth of its body weight. The average wolf weighs 75-100 pounds, and the males are larger than the females. Their normal consumption is five to ten pounds of meat a day, washed down with lots of water. The digestive system of a wolf is so well-refined for processing protein, that almost all of the meat is broken down and utilized by their bodies. That is why the scat from a wolf usually contains just hair and bone fragments. This would mean that one deer would not suffice for this many wolves---at least two would be needed. I would guess that they don't necessarily all hunt as one pack, though. I need to check out a book at the library on this subject to learn more!

Originally, the kids and I had planned a trip to Duluth for today. The weather report included a chance of drizzle on the North Shore. That is enough for me to postpone travel until a more suitable day comes along. In this case, I'm very glad that we are at home, for we would have missed the opportunity for such a magnificent wolf sighting.