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Bison

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Tatanka close-up in black and white

There is just something about pictures of the American Bison that lends itself very well to monochrome treatment. I reckon it is as much as anything because we view it as a creature of the Old West.

It came close to disappearing back then due to over hunting but, thankfully, conservation efforts prevailed and now there are many of these scattered across the western United States in private and public herds. It used to be we called these buffalo but that actually was incorrect. While they are part of the same family that includes the European and African buffalo, the Bison is its own, distinct species.

It is believed they were called buffalo by early North American explorers due to their resemblance to the Old-World species. Native Americans call them Tatanka, a Lokota word that translated means “bull buffalo.” In May 2016 the Bison became the official mammal of the United States, a fitting and long overdue honor.

Black and white image of a Bison bull. (© Tony’s Takes)

Black and white image of a Bison bull. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison calf sticks close to mom

A late arrival at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in December. Most calves are born during the warmer months but this little one decided to appear in the dead of winter and right before a significant snow storm as well.

At the time this picture was taken, it was only five days old. Sooner after, the Denver area got hit with a storm that deposited a good bit of snow and sent temperature plunging. Nevertheless, the little one weathered it like a champ.

These massive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands. Native Americans call them Tatanka, a Lokota word that translated means “bull buffalo.”

A recently born Bison calf sticks close to its mom in the wake of a snowstorm. (© Tony’s Takes)

A recently born Bison calf sticks close to its mom in the wake of a snowstorm. (© Tony’s Takes)

"Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam…"

“Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam…” That’s right! I already have a home right near where that happens. 😉 I’ve gotten higher quality pics of similar scenes at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge but I never tire of seeing it or taking pictures of it. A recent snow covered the landscape in white from the plains to those imposing Rocky Mountains. Just gorgeous!

Bison graze on the plains near Denver, Colorado with the snow-covered Rocky Mountains in the background. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison graze on the plains near Denver, Colorado with the snow-covered Rocky Mountains in the background. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Bison samples the fresh snow

Human children have great fun running around with their tongues hanging out trying to catch snowflakes as they fall. For this young Bison, it was easier just to sample the snow and frost right off a nearby plant. Taken last month after a recent snowstorm, it seemed to really enjoy licking the plants rather than actually eating them. I can’t say I remember ever doing that as a kid but who knows, maybe it tastes good. 😉

A young Bison samples freshly fallen snow in Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Bison samples freshly fallen snow in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison bull takes a big whiff for Tatanka Tuesday

This was one big boy to say the least! Clearly one of the elders of the herd, he was large and in charge as he walked right up to my truck. As he got closer, something clearly got his nose’s attention and he raised his head performed the flehmen response.

Many mammals will curl their lips and raise their head, inhaling deeply allowing them to get a better sampling of a particular smell that interests them – kind of like a human taking a big whiff to smell something.

It used to be we called these buffalo but that actually was incorrect. While they are part of the same family that includes the European and African buffalo, the Bison is its own, distinct species. It is believed they were called buffalo by early North American explorers due to their resemblance to the Old World species. Native Americans call them Tatanka, a Lokota word that translated means “bull buffalo.”

A bull Bison displays the flehmen response.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A bull Bison displays the flehmen response. (© Tony’s Takes)

Eye of the buffalo

What to do when the bison get so close to you that you are unable to capture a face portrait, let alone a full body shot? Zoom in further and get an extreme closeup! This massive bull came right up close to my truck allowing me to get this image and in fact, you can see the truck in the reflection in its eye. Amusingly enough, after it passed I was focused on others in the herd and this big guy would start licking my truck and scraping his horns against it! Kind of fun!

Black and white closeup of a Bison bull's face. (© Tony’s Takes)

Black and white closeup of a Bison bull’s face. (© Tony’s Takes)

Two-week old Bison calf experiences first snow, arctic outbreak

What a welcome to the world this little guy / gal received. Soon after being born, Colorado was hit with a blast of cold weather that sent temperatures plunging to record-setting levels and a healthy shot of snow. Early in the morning this past Sunday the temperature was a bone-chilling cold 10 degrees below zero when I came across the Bison herd.

The little one seemed to be handling it well but you sure would think it was wishing it could return to the warmth of its mother’s womb! Here it is seen working through the brush, following the herd as it moves to a new grazing spot. I managed a number of nice, close-ups of it and of the adults as well.

A two-week-old Bison calf stands among the frost and snow covered landscape. (© Tony’s Takes)

A two-week-old Bison calf stands among the frost and snow covered landscape. (© Tony’s Takes)

Big. Bad. Bison. Bull.

Black and white image of a Bison bull as he walked through some fresh snow for Tatanka Tuesday. I happened across this guy on Sunday and he ended up so close, a full body capture was impossible. I took advantage of his proximity by zooming in close and capturing that very cool face.

These massive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands. Native Americans call them Tatanka, a Lokota word that translated means “bull buffalo.”

Black and white closeup of a Bison bull in the snow. (© Tony’s Takes)

Black and white closeup of a Bison bull in the snow. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little buddies

There are quite a few of the little ones among the herd at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and when you come across them, you can’t help but take pictures – they are so darned cute!

It used to be we called these buffalo but that actually was incorrect. While they are part of the same family that includes the European and African buffalo, the Bison is its own, distinct species. It is believed they were called buffalo by early North American explorers due to their resemblance to the Old World species.

Two Bison calves hang out together at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Two Bison calves hang out together at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

American Bison showing some attitude about the snow

This was taken back at the end of March during one of the Denver area’s last snows of the previous snow season. Today we are receiving our first of the 2016 – 2017 season, a lot later than normal. Colorado’s weather sure can be bizarre. Yesterday we set a record high temperatures of 80 degrees. Today’s high is 40 degrees.

Black and white image of an American Bison in the snow.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Black and white image of an American Bison in the snow. (© Tony’s Takes)

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