The Bighorn Sheep in My Yard

Wild Kingdom* out my window.

There are bighorn sheep in the cliffs across the road from my home. I often hear them clattering around in the rocks, creating mini landslides. I’ve also seen them quite often.

Last year, they’d show up pretty regularly across the street in my neighbor’s yard. By regularly, I mean around midday every day. For weeks. I even had the misfortune of seeing my neighbor outside, buck naked, taking photos of them when I was watching them through binoculars and movement caught my eye.

They were gone for quite a while. Sure, I’d hear them up in the cliffs and the sound would often get Penny all worked up. Despite numerous helicopter rides with me, her hearing remains excellent and she often hears them before I do.

A few weeks ago, they started showing up again. A pretty big herd of mostly females. One time, they even put on quite a show for some weekend guests who’d come with their RV. We sat up on the deck having a late breakfast while they grazed on weeds in my neighbor’s yard.

Bighorn Sheep
It wasn’t easy to take photos of the sheep at the road; the sun was right behind them.

The other day, they were on my side of the road. I watched them, fearing that they might start grazing on the willow trees I’d planted alongside the road last year. But they seemed more interested in the weeds than the trees. Good.

Penny and Sheep
A cropped cell phone picture of Penny facing off with one of the sheep.

On Thursday, I was working on some shelves in my garage when Penny started barking at something. Turned out that she was near the end of the driveway, facing off with one of the bighorn sheep. I managed to get a photo with my phone before the sheep bounded off. I mean that quite literally — it ran off with a hopping motion that was actually quite funny to see. But what really surprised both Penny and me was that the sheep wasn’t alone — are they ever? There were at least a dozen more in my front yard, hidden from view by the tall weeds and my shed. They took off after their friend, running across the road.

I took a break and went upstairs for some lunch. I ate out on the deck. The sheep had moved into the road about halfway down my property line. Some of them were actually lying down in the road. I live on a dead end road and there are only three occupied homes beyond mine, so there isn’t much traffic.

Cathedral Rock Traffic Jam
Seriously? Lying down in the road?

Eventually, however, one of my neighbors went out. Even though they obviously saw the sheep — how could you possibly miss a herd right in the road? — and they drove slowly, the sheep moved.

Into my yard.

As I watched, they came closer and closer to my home. I know they saw me up on the deck watching, but they didn’t seem too interested. They came to the north side of my place, the side that faces the Columbia River and Wenatchee Valley. They were nibbling on the tops of the native grass and weeds that grow wild there. (I have 10 acres and the vast majority of it has “nature’s landscaping.”) They came closer and closer. At one point, one of them was right at the edge of the gravel drive, not 100 feet from where I watched from the deck.

Herd of Bighorn Sheep
My Nikon was handy and I’d popped the 70-300mm lens on it when they first came into the yard. They were so close that I had to zoom all the way out to capture this group of the herd. This is 70mm from my deck, uncropped. A handful of others didn’t fit in the frame.

They were beautiful. And healthy. Adult females mostly, with a few youngsters.

momandkid.jpg
Another shot from my deck. This was shot at 300mm and is not cropped. They were close!

This is the video I Periscoped. It’s a shame it saves a downsampled version of the video.

I took pictures, of course. Lots of pictures. And video. I did a live broadcast on Periscope and another on Facebook. I wanted to share my experience with my friends. (I guess that’s what this blog post is about.)

I’d left the door open and when I saw them looking down at something, I followed their glance. Penny was out there, sizing them up. I didn’t want her scaring them off so I called her, softly. She seemed to debate whether she should come. But then she trotted back into the house and up the stairs. She joined me on the deck to watch them and stayed quiet.

And then they just left. After about 20 minutes grazing in my side yard, one of them headed off purposefully and the others followed. I watched them go. They crossed my driveway and then the road and headed back up toward the cliffs.

Did they come back yesterday when I was out hiking and hunting for mushrooms with a friend? I don’t know, but I bet they did. And I bet they came back today when I was out doing helicopter rides in Quincy. Tomorrow, I plan to get some work done at home. Maybe I’ll see them again.

I hope so.


* Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom was a television show about animals that originally aired from 1963 until 1988. I grew up watching this show. A new version began airing on Animal Planet in 2002. Learn more here and here.

8 thoughts on “The Bighorn Sheep in My Yard

  1. Lovely to see those Bighorn. They look fit and seem to be doing well. Nice video.
    We have 1200 fallow deer roaming wild near here but they are shy and rarely get in our gardens. Not so, badgers and the tiny Muntjac deer which were introduced to local parks from India in the 1920’s. The muntjac seem so small, people think they are cute and harmless. They are little bigger than Penny but the posterior surfaces of their six-inch curved antlers are razor sharp and can disembowel a dog or give a human a serious gouge, if they feel cornered.

    Night visits from badgers are a pain. They dig latrine pits in our (competitively well-maintained) lawns and then defecate in the hole they have created.
    An unwelcome ‘double whammy’.

    • These haven’t quite made it to nuisance status yet. They’ve been coming around just about every day — including today — and are currently lounging on my neighbors driveway. About 15 of them. I’m wondering if they’ll cause any damage in the near future.

      The only really annoying animal in the area are voles, which dig under the ground and can damage plants from beneath. The barn cats have been keeping them from getting out of control, but I suspect that none of the barn cats are currently living at my place. Penny can be quite a pain in the butt for them.

  2. Maria, does it bother you knowing Mike is with a woman he truly loves over you? The “Old Whore” he chose over you, “The Dyke”. LOL

    • It doesn’t bother me in the least – and it doesn’t surprise me, either. His standards have really slipped.

      How interesting that you also recognize that she’s an old whore. I guess word gets around. Did you get copies of those old lingerie photos too? She apparently sent them around to quite a few men, shopping for a sucker to bail her out of debt.

      As for me being a “Dyke,” you’re very much mistaken. But then again, I don’t think my wasband could verify that because at this point, he probably doesn’t remember what good sex is all about.

      And I think it’s pretty funny that after four years she’s still reading my blog. She really needs to get a life. I guess my wasband isn’t good enough at making one for her. He certainly couldn’t make one for me — and she obviously doesn’t know how to make one for herself. LOL.

    • “Cole Coleman” is just a rude, vindictive, nasty spammer. It’s really very sad. That nonsense is not worth anyone’s time or energy to bother with, Maria. Geesh…

      • You’re right, of course, Shirley. “Cole Coleman” is obviously one of the old whore’s few “friends” — if not her using a typically unimaginative fake name. They have nothing better to do with their time than read my blog and post nasty comments. These people are complete losers — which doesn’t surprise me considering what a loser my wasband became during the last 10 or so years we were together. (They’re obviously made for each other.)

        It’s been FOUR YEARS since the nonsense with them started. I don’t think she’s ever gotten over the fact that the divorce judge didn’t give him any of my money. Maybe it’s guilt for all the money he pissed away on lawyers following her advice? Losing once wasn’t enough — they had to appeal and lose that, too. He must be flat broke.

        Hell, she got him — isn’t that what she really wanted? Why won’t she let it go? We both know the answer to that.

        I’ll adjust my spam filter again to delete any more of this offensive crap before I even see it. Maybe they’ll give up when they realize how much they’re wasting their time. But then again, when you have no life, I guess time wasted doesn’t really matter.

  3. Interesting how Cole knows your ex’s name. I’m thinking the old whore isn’t having the fun happy life she was expecting, while you’re having a grand old time. Why else would she send comments like this after 4 years.

    Lol, you’re over him, but she’s not over you. Love it.

    But Shirley is right, This nonsense isn’t worth anyone’s time.

What do you think?