Our first glimpse of emerging prairie dogs is often a head tentatively peeking out from a burrow.   © MRR 2017
  The first prairie dogs to emerge in the spring are typically adult males. Here male 45 surveys his surroundings.      ©MRR 2017
  18 looks on from his burrow, wary of larger males such as 45, who will spend the spring establishing his territory. Adult males are marked with numbers 0-49.     © MRR 2017
  18 displays an upright alert posture as he watches for potential threats.  ©MRR 2017
  A territorial dispute often involves a chase.  ©MRR 2017
  Female prairie dogs are marked with numbers 50 and above or with a unique marking, such as four stripes down each flank to designate female 4 Stripe (or 4STR on a datasheet). 4STR was marked in the fall before submerging for the winter, and will lose her marking during her spring molt in May.  ©MRR 2017
  Front paws wet from snow, 45 looks out as he forages.  ©MRR 2017
  Female 4 Stripe gathers nesting material for her burrow, likely anticipating a cold night.  ©MRR 2017
  Early in the season (and sometimes well into April), snow cover is still common.  ©MRR 2017
  45 pauses to groom in front of a trap surrounding. Surroundings are set around specific burrows when particular prairie dogs need to be caught for marking in the early Spring.  ©MRR 2017
  An unmarked prairie dog has been trapped in a surrounding, ready to be marked before the busy mating season begins.  ©MRR 2017
  Females often stand for long periods at their burrows in the early Spring (Wetsuit here), and will forage near their burrows as the males of their clan run around and often herd them into their burrows to establish dominance.  ©MRR 2017
  50 and 83 emerged from the same burrow, possibly sisters, most definitely kin. Prairie dog females exhibit philopatry, remaining in the same clan as their mothers, aunts, and female relatives.  ©MRR 2017
  Wetsuit investigates a burrow marking. These tags are placed at heavily-used burrows for referencing when taking behavioral data.  ©MRR 2017
  Recently emerged 50 and 83 share a friendly kiss. Context and relationships determine whether kissing is friendly or hostile. After mating, 50 and 83 will become less friendly as they vie for nursery burrows.  ©MRR 2017
  4 Stripe grooms at the mouth of her burrow.  ©MRR 2017
  An unmarked dog, having just emerged, will be caught as soon as possible to receive an identification and be entered into the study pool.  ©MRR 2017
  R78, a small yearling male, surveys his surroundings as he emerges from his winter torpor.  ©MRR 2017
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