Title:     "Alaska Aurora Dall Sheep"

© Alaska Artist Dianne Roberson

          Northern Lights | Alaska                   

Stock #  DA 158

Digital Art       |         Color Prints

Size:  20" wide by 16" High     $ 45.00         Color Print on glossy paper                                   

Size:  20" wide by 16" High    $ 175.00  
Color Print on stretched canvas                                    


Size:  14" wide by 11" High       $ 35.00       
Color Print on glossy paper                                     

Description:     Male dall sheep, or rams, are distinguished by massive curling horns.  The females, or ewes, have shorter,
more slender, slightly curved horns.  Rams resemble ewes until they are about three years old.  After that, continued horn
growth makes them easily recognizable.  Horns grow steadily during spring, summer and early fall.  In late fall or winter,
horn growth slows and eventually ceases.  This is probably a result of changes in body chemistry during breeding season.  
This start-and-stop growth of horns results in a patterns of rings called annuli which are spaced along the length of the
horn.  As rams mature, their horns form a circle when seen from the side.  Ram horns reach half a circle in about two or
three years and a full circle or “curl” in seven to eight years.  Most populations occupy distinct summer and winter ranges,
although some are sedentary.  Migrations are correlated with snow depth, temperature and plant phenology.  Most of the
year is spent in the winter range in wind-swept areas that expose forage.  Adult males can occupy six seasonal home
ranges: Pre-rutting, rutting, midwinter, late winter and spring, salt-lick, and summer.  Females usually have four ranges:
Winter, spring, lambing, and summer.  Lambs inherit home ranges from older individuals and they return annually to these
inherited ranges.

The diet of Dall sheep varies from range to range.  During summer, food is abundant and a wide variety of plants are
consumed.  Winter diet is much more limited and consists of primarily dry, frozen grass and sedge stems available when
snow is blown off the winter ranges.  Sheep travel to rocky areas called mineral licks in spring to eat the soil, which
contains high levels of sodium and other minerals.  Since ewes and rams use licks, young rams may leave nursery groups
and join other rams at this time.  This random dispersal of young rams among unrelated ram herds increases genetic
diversity of the species.  Many sheep visit mineral licks during spring and often travel many miles to eat the soil at the base
of these unusual soil formations.

Rams establish a dominance hierarchy in the summer, in which rank is determined by horn size.  This ranking is not just
for access to females, since there are no females present in the summer range, but also for social order.  Usually
dominance is settled without fighting, but if there is similar horn size, as when different bands meet, dominance is settled
by a fight.  These fights are often thunderous.  The two males will back off ten or twelve meters and then rush together,
colliding headlong. Usually little harm results, and after several bouts the rams separate.  Mating occurs in late November
and early December, with the young, called lambs, born in late May or early June.  As lambing approaches, ewes seek
solitude and protection from predators in the most rugged cliffs available on their spring ranges.  Ewes bear a single lamb
and the ewe-lamb pair remains in the lambing cliff a few days until the lamb is strong enough to travel.

Also know as the
Aurora Borealis, these lights are best viewed in the cold dark winter months in Alaska.   The beautiful
blaze of the
Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, begins when energetic electrically charged particles accelerate along the
magnetic field lines into the upper atmosphere, where they collide with gas atoms, causing the atoms to give off light. The
air lights up rather like what happens in a fluorescent light tube.  The colors reflect gases, the most usual yellow-green
color coming from oxygen. Red coloring is also due to oxygen with a contribution from nitrogen and violet is due to nitrogen.
The charged particles originate from the sun, and it is the “weather” conditions on the sun that decide whether or not we will
see the aurora.

Print Information

The website address will not be printed on your print.  This print is treated with an ultra violent protective coating.  It will be
rolled and inserted into a mailing tube.  This print is treated with an ultra violent protective coating.  It will be rolled and
inserted into a mailing tube if ordering a glossy paper print.

Stretched canvas prints will be boxed.   All prints  will be mailed first class by the U.S. Postal Service and insured.
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Alaskan Art by Alaskan Artist Dianne Roberson
Copyright  2013        ©   Dianne Roberson    All rights reserved.