As ornithologists our work takes us all over the country and, in addition to birds, we are able to enjoy a wide variety of wildlife and natural wonders. A couple of years ago we were sent to south central Nevada to do some breeding bird surveys for a federal agency. The habitat was really sparce and had little vegetation, which of course meant few birds. There were other things to observe however. Traveling along a series of cliffs and drainages we were amazed to see a rather large number of rock drawings or petroglyphs on the undercut edges of the cliffs. These were undoubtedly left by early Native Americans from days long gone by. As we moved up the drainage to the top of a hill we were startled to see a magnificent vista where we could see for 20-30 miles in every direction. From this vantage point we could see three different herds of wild horses. Each was far enough away from the others so that the herds never interacted with each other, but, we could observe the herd dynamics of each herd from where we were. We observed the classic fight between the gray stallion who appeared to be the leader of one group of about 50 and a younger, smaller brown male. This group was aproximately a half mile from us and we could hear and feel the shaking of the horses pounding on each other with their heads, hoofs and bodies. After the young brown was vanquished we watched as the stallion gathered up five mares which had wondered off during the struggle. We spent nearly an hour just observing the various interactions within the three herds. What a wonderful morning, and definitely something very new for us.
Recently we were reminded of this trip when we saw a T-shirt featuring the artwork of renowned wildlife artist Persis C. Weirs entitled “Sacred Passage“. We have decided to make this wonderful shirt available to our customers and it will remain a beautiful reminder to us of our trip to Nevada.