Darlene Conti said her husband looked out their window Thursday morning and saw a moose strolling through their Leominster backyard.
The couple quickly rushed out onto their back deck to get a better look at the visitor.
“He was coming right toward us, but we were on the deck so I wasn’t worried,” said Conti, who lives on Union Street. “It was the most majestic thing I have ever seen. He sauntered along; he was in no hurry.”
Conti said her husband, Anthony, was getting ready for work around 7:15 a.m. when he spotted the moose.
She said the moose didn’t seem to be afraid of them and remained in their backyard for at least 10 minutes.
“He just turned around at one point and stared at us,” Conti said. “I was taking pictures, so I’m sure he heard the clicking of the camera, and then he just walked over to the edge of the property, around the shed, and into the woods.”
Conti said in the 22 years they’ve lived in Leominster, she and her husband had never seen a moose in the area.
“He isn’t back yet, so I don’t think he wanted to be friends. I’m very sad,” Conti joked. “It was quite spectacular to see. We’ve seen a coyote and a fox, but this was unbelievable.”
David Stainbrook, the deer and moose biologist for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said it is not unusual for moose to be roaming in that area on urban outskirts.
“Leominster is in an area where we do see some moose, but it’s not common for them to wander into the city,” he said.
Stainbrook said the moose was probably venturing further afield because it is breeding season.
“They move more frequently and they move in the day more frequently. They’re chasing females and moving across roads and whatnot,” Stainbrook said. “While they’re moving, they tend to extend their home range during breeding season.”
Because moose are more mobileduring breeding season, officials encourage drivers to be on the lookout while driving at night.
“[Moose will] be wandering and then they’ll get to a barrier, whether it be a road or a river, and then they follow along, and then at some point they’ll try to get out of there,” Stainbrook said.
Stainbrook said the moose probably returned to the woods.
“Let them move on their own,” Stainbrook said. “They will eventually go back into the woods if you just let them be.”Olivia Quintana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.