The Caribou is one of North America’s most majestic species. It is often referred to as the “flying donkey of the woods.” The reindeer, sometimes called simply caribou, is a beautiful species of goose with long, semi-divergent flight, resident primarily in sub-Arctic, tundra and mountain regions of northern North America. This includes both migratory and sedentary populations. In fact, the winter range of the Caribou can extend over a thousand miles.
Unlike other ducks, which nest in water, Caribou parents nest in trees. A young Caribou will stay close to its mother until it is about four years old, then move out on its own. After a year or two, it will follow the puddle of water that she drinks for sustenance. However, some species winter over northern Canada and Alaska. During this time they seek out rocky areas, streams and lakes for their new home.
They have a very high activity rate during mating season. They mate for nine months and a single young will usually pair for life. In fact, they can produce up to 200 offspring at one time! Many are born each year in Alaska and Canada.
The young stay with their parents until they are about ten days old. After that, they begin to fend for themselves. Their teeth have not fully developed, so they must use their front feet to grasp onto trees and branches, while their back feet provide stability for balancing. Their beaks are also unique; they have three toes instead of two, allowing them to pluck insects from the ground and catch fish in the air.
Caribou parents spend much of their time feeding their offspring. As they do, they need to regroup, allowing them to regroup and feed at different locations. When they can’t find food, they search for it elsewhere. If they are in a rough area, they can mark their territories with dirt, sticks or urine. Other signs that a Caribou has eaten include piles of feces, dead leaves or other types of debris. This enables other Caribou to know where to find their food quickly.
Because of their small size, Caribou are easy to spot on land. Even if you drive into a crowded parking lot, you can be fairly certain that there is a Caribou in there somewhere. Because of their elusive nature, no map or guidebook will ever reveal their exact location. This makes tracking them down a daunting task. The best way to keep track of your Caribou is by keeping an eye on your Young when he or she is out in the area.