SEASONAL ACTIVITY PATTERNS OF MOOSE IN THE SWAN HILLS, ALBERTA
Activity data and an index to distance moved were obtained from 7262 radio signals monitored for 43 radio-collared moose. Activity was most intense at dawn and dusk and was lowest and most variable on winter nights. Fall activity patterns differed greatly from the rest of the year and reflected breeding behavior and increased social contacts. Nighttime activity by moose was most prevalent during lunar phases providing sufficient lighting by which to browse. Insufficient lighting was compensated for by increased daytime activity. Moose activity was controlled by light and triggered daily by sunrise and sunset. These controls maintained a synchrony in feeding periods throughout the daylight hours. We suggest that nighttime peaks in foraging are similarly triggered and synchronized. Such a system of controlled activity allows for 24 hour exploitation of food resources and provides moose with behavioral flexibility in the boreal environment. The index to distance moved show that moose moved at all times of the day and night, but distance was greatest at dusk in the spring. We suggest that the increase in distance moved in the spring is a result of movements from winter to summer range and to visits to mineral licks.
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