The live fauna of Dinosaur Provincial Park

In addition to the actual fossils, I do have a decent record of seeing live animals while out in the field, and the DPP and environs of the Tyrrell were no exception. The dinosaurs are of course, awesome, but it’s nice to see some wildlife too. Mark Graham had mentioned in his guest post that I’d been snapping some of the fauna, so now seemed a good time to bring them out

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First off is the easy one, these ground squirrels infest the area around the Tyrrell and this guy was literally sat on the front steps begging for food. While I didn’t give him any, the pot belly on this one and those that were hanging around make it quite obvious that plenty of people do, though just a few yards away other locals were much more shy and sveldt.

Just traces here, but quite cool that you have coyote and deer (presumably mule deer given their abundance) going in opposite directions, though of course who knows how far apart in time. The canid also has some nice overprinting going on such that the two feet have left what appears to be one large, but rather odd, footprint.

And here’s a pronghorn. A male rather obviously, and something I’d long wanted to see. I didn’t realise their range was this far north, so were a complete surprise to me when we came across a small group and I’ve got some nice photos of them mooching around.


And here are some of those mule deer. This was part of a herd of a dozen or so, though there were plenty of odd ones or pairs seen from time to time in various places both around the museum and out into the wilds. I did see white-tailed deer too, but didn’t get any great photos.


A real prize for me, a nice big bunny. I assume this is a jackrabbit, but I don’t actually know. I really like rabbits in general and have seen desert hares a couple of times in the wilds of China, but they tend to explode out of cover and vanish over the horizon before I realise I’ve spooked one, whereas this one was kind enough to move not too fast and stop a couple of times allowing me to get decent snaps (though out of tons that are out of focus or suffering from motion blur).

IMG_2807And finally a chipmunk, one of many hanging around in the woods near Don Henderson’s house, though I was also surprised to see them out in boulder fields too. I saw traces of activity from beavers and porcupines on several trees (and a couple of roadkill of the latter) but sadly no live ones were around. I think pretty much all of these bar the chipmunk were new to me, not just in the wild, but in zoos too. Perhaps as they are considered too ‘boring’ or ‘normal’ for most collections, and if the US doesn’t bother, then they’re not too likely to end up in Europe or Asia either, so this was really a pretty good haul by my standards.


7 Responses to “The live fauna of Dinosaur Provincial Park”

  1. 1 mark graham 22/05/2013 at 9:39 pm

    Dave – did you get a shot of the ducks taking off (and of the low flying aircraft)?

    • 2 David Hone 22/05/2013 at 10:00 pm

      Sadly all the duck photos were pretty poor. Did get the low flying plane, but didn’t seem to quite fit the theme of this post. 😉

  2. 3 Michael Barron 22/05/2013 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you for the reminder of a side benefit of field work. Surprised I did not see any pictures of “wildlife” gathered around an evening fire enjoying a beverage. And no snakes, mosquitos, and biting flies. It’s been ten plus years since I did volunteer field work, but the pluses still outweigh the discomforts. Thanks foe the reminder.

    • 4 David Hone 23/05/2013 at 7:57 am

      I left *just* as mosquito season was starting so missed that fortunately and it was still a little cold so no snakes, even though we did go looking for them.

  3. 5 Howard Allen 23/05/2013 at 1:25 am

    White tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii). They’re very common in southern Alberta, including the cities that have dog control bylaws. Easy living (except for cars) and lots of free food: there’s one munching on my front lawn as I write this.

  4. 7 Alan 30/05/2013 at 5:39 pm

    As far as seeing some of these animals in European zoos – Bristol has just put on show Souslik (European ground Squirrel) They are still a bit shy but given there reproductive rate there should be a fair sized group in a year’s time

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