Kickoff for the Rocky Mountain Showdown is in less than a half hour. Where does your allegiance lie? With the Colorado State Rams or Colorado Buffaloes? Do you stand with Cam or Ralphie? I don’t have a preference unless it involves Navy Football. 😉
It isn’t too often a big Bison is going to catch you by surprise as they are kind of hard to miss. However, such was the case with this cow on my visit to Yellowstone National Park in June.
I had stopped at Soda Butte, the remnants of an extinct geyser in the Lamar Valley, to snap a few pictures. As I rounded the side of the butte opposite the road, I came face to face with this large, hairy creature. Oops! She was working her way up and directly toward me. Needless to say, I quickly backpedaled and gave her all the room she wanted. 😉
These impressive 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.
This beautiful scene kickstarted our visit to Yellowstone National Park last month. Winter had been harsh up there with a great deal of snowfall and the spring was a wet one. However, all that moisture made for a lush, green landscape and rivers flowing full and quick.
Soon after arrival we set out for a quick exploration trip and found a herd of bison grazing along the banks of the river. Above, a cloud-dotted sky with spots of bright blue peering through. Truly a scene showing nature at its finest and a scene I will never forget.
One for Tatanka Tuesday. There was a time when the American Bison roamed the plains freely with numbers in the hundreds of thousands (millions?). Some of the pictures of the Old West show scenes of a landscape covered in these massive creatures. That of course is no longer the case but this small herd and some creative editing help to invoke those types of scenes I think.
These impressive 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. 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 Lakota 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. Taken at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado.
Our first day in Yellowstone National Park last week provided some heart-pounding action. Arriving in the afternoon we only had time for a quick drive and checked out the west side of the park along the Madison River. We were happy to find a Bison herd farther west than we had seen them in the past.
Soon though, a drama unfolded as four calves had become separated from the herd and were on the opposite side of the river. A wet winter and spring had the river running very fast and very full. The calves ran back and forth along the river’s edge before finally making the plunge.
They struggled mightily against the fast-moving current and those of us watching couldn’t help but feel scared for them. With lumps in our throats we cheered then on and thankfully, all four made it across and were reunited with their very happy mothers.
Scroll down to view the complete series of images.
Springtime means babies in the animal world and the herd has had a bumper crop this year. By my count there were nine new calves at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, all born within the past month. This past weekend the temperatures in the sun were comfortable and conditions calm so it seemed like a great day to just lay down in a field among the wildflowers and take in the new world these little guys just came into.
A fitting image for Tatanka Tuesday. When you see this big guy coming, there is little doubt who has the right of way. 😉
Poor weather with heavily overcast skies and light rain limited the photo opportunities on my after work drive last Friday. Thankfully two, massive, Bison bulls gave me some great pics as they marched right toward my truck.
There is something about these animals that to me compel a conversion to black and white. In my mind, it helps to convey the Old West that they are most often associated with plus it just makes them look really cool. What do think?
Native Americans call the bison Tatanka, a Lakota 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.
A bit of the old west meeting the new. In some ways, seeing these massive creatures roam so close to a major city seems out of place. However, we are the ones intruding on their ancestral lands.
These massive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. The American Bison’s numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands but none have truly free range anymore. The land they used to roam freely has been overtaken by man and, for better and worse, the landscape has changed greatly since this bull’s ancestors roamed the land.
At least now we seem to have awoken to some of the damage done in decades and centuries past and are trying to rectify it by working to restore these impressive animal’s population and giving them some of their ancestral lands back.
Being born in the dead of winter on the Colorado plains does not make for an easy start to life. However, this little guy (or gal) looks to have done just fine.
I first captured images of it back in the middle of December within a couple of days after it was born just before a snowstorm hit. Now, four months later, we can see some changes taking place as it grows up.
It of course has grown considerably but also, it’s ‘red dog’ fur is changing to the adult brown, it is developing the shoulder hump and its horns are growing.
Bison are the largest mammal in North American with cows weighing up to 1,000 pounds and bulls up to 2,000 pounds. Whether a male or female, this little one will be massive once it grows up.
This was a bit disconcerting to watch but it was all a very controlled event. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was conducting a prescribed burn at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge last week. While the Bison were close to the flames and seemed a bit upset by it, wildlife officials were right there monitoring the situation.
Fire is a very normal event and indeed, blazes are a necessary part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem, however they obviously can’t be allowed to occur unabated in areas near population centers. When we can’t let Mother Nature do it, man must step in and conduct them in a well-organized and planned fashion.
Such was the case here. The fires were purposefully set and closely monitored by firefighters. While the landscape is temporarily blackened, soon, fresh, new growth will return stronger than ever.