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For Our Friend Jane

For Our Friend Jane
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-02-07
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 5D MKII, Canon EF 24-105 f4.0L IS USM
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite wild animal photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-02-12 18:16
Viewed: 3352
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hi All,
I am back after a week in Las Vegas ( sin city ) not my kind of place but Lucy likes it and the gambling, so off we went. We did get to wander out of town occasionally, and on a trip into the Valley of Fire we found these Desert Bighorn rams so after a bit of sneaking I got close enough to take an image with the lens I had. I would like to dedicate this to Jane Magen our friend from Arizona. These Bighorns are a little closer to home Jane.

Desert Bighorn Sheep
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Desert Bighorn Sheep

Conservation status

Conservation Dependent[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Genus: Ovis
Species: O. canadensis
Subspecies: O. c. nelsoni
Trinomial name
Ovis canadensis nelsoni
Merriam, 1897
The Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) is a subspecies of Bighorn Sheep that occurs in the desert Southwest regions of the United States and in the northern regions of Mexico. The trinomial of this species commemorates the American naturalist Edward William Nelson.The characteristics and behavior of Desert Bighorn Sheep generally follow those of other Bighorn Sheep, except for adaptation to the lack of water in the desert: bighorn sheep can go for extended periods of time without drinking water.
Populations of the Desert Bighorn Sheep declined drastically with European colonization of the American Southwest beginning in the 1500s. As of 2004, Desert Bighorn Sheep numbers are extremely low, although the overall population trend has increased since 1960. These declines were followed by a period of population stabilization that was ascribed to conservation measures.[2]
Contents [hide]
1 Characteristics
1.1 Desert adaptations
1.2 Social life
2 Conservation status and trends
3 References
4 External links

Desert bighorn are stocky, heavy-bodied sheep, similar in size to mule deer. Weights of mature rams range from 125 to 200 pounds (55 to 90 kg), while ewes are somewhat smaller. Due to their unique padded hooves, bighorn are able to climb the steep, rocky terrain of the desert mountains with speed and agility. Bighorn rely on their keen eyesight to detect potential predators such as mountain lions, coyotes, and bobcats, and they use their climbing ability to escape.[3]
Both sexes develop horns soon after birth, with horn growth continuing more or less throughout life. Older rams have impressive sets of curling horns measuring over three feet long with more than one foot of circumference at the base. The ewes' horns are much smaller and lighter and do not tend to curl. The head and horns of an adult ram may weigh more than 30 pounds. Annual growth rings indicate the animal's age. Both rams and ewes use their horns as tools to break open cactus, which they consume, and for fighting.[3]
The typical diet of a desert bighorn sheep is mainly grasses, sedges and forbs.[citation needed]
[edit]Desert adaptations
The desert bighorn has become well adapted to living in the desert heat and cold and, unlike most mammals, their body temperature can safely fluctuate several degrees. During the heat of the day, bighorn often rest in the shade of trees and caves.[3]
Southern desert bighorn sheep are typically found in small scattered bands adapted to a desert mountain environment with little or no permanent water. Some of the bighorn may go without visiting water for weeks or months, sustaining their body moisture from food and from rainwater collected in temporary rock pools. They may have the ability to lose up to 30 percent of their body weight and still survive. After drinking water, they quickly recover from their dehydrated condition. Wildlife ecologists are just beginning to study the importance of this adaptive strategy, which has allowed these small bands to survive in areas too dry for many of their predators.[3]
[edit]Social life
Rams battle to determine the dominant animal, which then gains possession of the ewes. Facing each other, rams charge head-on from distances of 20 feet or more, crashing their massive horns together with tremendous impact, until one or the other ceases.[3]
Bighorns live in separate ram and ewe bands most of the year. They gather during the breeding season (usually July-October), but breeding may occur anytime in the desert due to suitable climatic conditions. Gestation lasts about 6 months, and the lambs are usually born in late winter.[3]
[edit]Conservation status and trends

Population estimate by year
State 1960 1993
Arizona 3,000-3,500 6,000
California 2,140-2,450 4,300-4,325
Colorado 0 475
Nevada 1,500-2,000 5,294
New Mexico 400-500 295
Texas 25 401
Utah Remnant 2,200-2,250
Total 7,065-8,475 18,965-19,040
The number of desert bighorn in North America in pristine times is unknown but most likely was in the tens of thousands.[2] Seton estimated the pre-Columbian numbers of all subspecies of bighorn sheep in North America at 1.5-2 million.[4][2] By 1960, however, the overall bighorn population in the United States, including desert bighorns, had dwindled to 15,000-18,200.[2] Buechner documented major declines from the 1850s to the early 1900s. These declines were attributed to excessive hunting; competition and diseases from domestic livestock, particularly domestic sheep; usurpation of watering areas and critical range by human activities; and human-induced habitat changes.[5][2]
In 1939, after intense lobbying by Frederick Russell Burnham and the Arizona Boy Scouts, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a proclamation that established two desert areas in southwestern Arizona to help preserve the Desert Bighorn Sheep: Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge[6][7] In 1941, the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico was added.[8]
Desert Bighorn Sheep populations have trended upward since the 1960s when their population was estimated at 6,700-8,100. The upward trend was caused by conservation measures, including habitat preservation. In 1980 Desert Bighorn Sheep populations were estimated at 8,415-9,040. A state-by-state survey was conducted a few years later and estimated the overall U.S. Desert Bighorn Sheep population at 15,980. The 1993 estimate of the population is 18,965-19,040.
In Southern California, by 1998, only 280 individuals of the Peninsular Bighorn Sheep population remained, and that population was added to the list of the United States' most imperiled species.[9] Populations in three southern counties had suffered greatly from disease, development, and predation. As of 2008, about 800 peninsular bighorns are believed to populate the desert backcountry from the U.S.-Mexico border to the San Jacinto Mountains, with known populations in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. These gains, combined with Bush Administration policies, prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose a reduction in protected sheep habitat by more than 50 percent, from 844,897 acres to 384,410.[10]
The results of the state-by-state survey are shown to the right.[2]

jaycee, eng55, Juyona, roges, horias, uleko, CeltickRanger, goatman04, nglen, nasokoun, lovenature has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-02-12 18:49]

Hi Rick,

What a wonderful dedication and surprise. Thank you for this beautiful trio. Betcha if I drove the six hours to Vegas I would never find them! I love their poses and the wonderful details of their faces and coats. They look so marvelous in this natural setting with the desert colors. This goes to my favorites - maybe some day I'll get to see one for real.


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-02-12 20:59]

Great shot, Rick!... and of three of them, no less!
All staring at you!
Glad to know there is some nature in the vicinity of Sin City.
Very majestic animals... and so well camouflaged in their desert environment.
Magnificent horns.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-02-12 21:56]

Hello Rick
A beautiful capture with nice composition and wonderful natural colors. Nice scene too.

nice habitat pic, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-02-13 0:02]

Hi Rick,
Very beautiful capture.POV,lighting,exposure and pose of longhorn sheeps are perfect.They are looking into your camera.Lovely dedication to our friend Jane.
Have a nice weekend!
Thanks for posting..

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2010-02-13 0:10]

Hola amigo,
beautiful wild perspective,
hostile habitat of incredible beauty,
good work and dedication.

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-02-13 1:16]

Hi Rick,
What magnificent dedication to our friend Jane. I'm sure that will be very happy when a one to see. Felcitarile my idea.
Excellent POV of that particular composition.
Have a pleasant day,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-02-13 1:38]

Hello Rick,
Fantastic photo and dedication in very beautiful colours. The sheep are very well camouflaged. What a bizarre and impressive environment. Great sharpness and most of all I like the perfect composition. Very nice to see that they all three look into your camera.

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-02-13 4:03]

Hi Rick
Great dedication for our friend Jane.
Great shot with this three Ovis canadensis nelsoni!
Great note too.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-02-13 4:08]

Hello Rick,
What a beautiful composition showing the three Bighorn sheep against a lovely red rocky environment! Excellent focus and sharpness and beautiful colours. I like the contrasting herb too.
A great one for Jane!
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

hello Rick

an excellent and very beautiful wildlife photo from the Nevada desert,
also excellent timing to shoot them 3 in the same photo,
with very fine POV, DOF and the way the 3 Desert Bighorn Sheeps
are framed in the image, superb focus sharpness and details
to all the image, excellent luminosity, wonderful glances of
all the Desert Bighorn Sheeps, this is a National Geographic
quality wildlife photo Rick, TFS very much,


Hello Rick,

A great capture of these 3 Desert Bighorn Sheep with beautiful colors, details & natural setting.

Well done & presented. A great gift to our good friend, Jane on TN.

TFS & best wishes.


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-02-13 10:24]

Hi Rick. I am sure ourgood friend Jane will love this picture . You have writen interesting notes to go with this picture of the Desert Bighorn Sheep . You have captured three impresive looking animals all looking at you. Taken with good detail and very natural looking colours. well taken TFS.

hello Rick,
very good scene, the composition with their environment is splendid, great photo output!
keep photographing! TFS

Hi Rick
I really love this portrait of your Big Horn Sheep. I had to look twice to see them as they seem a bit camouflaged among the rocks. It reminds me of a Beverly Doolittle painting where the animals are hidden in the image. Well done!!!
TFS Janice

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